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Sebelius Urges IHI Attendees to Work Harder Toward Quality

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 8, 2010

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday dismissed predictions that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in March would be repealed. She spoke at the National Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare, in Orlando, presented by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The Secretary urged providers to maintain PPACA's momentum, and show their support "because we are at an absolute pivotal moment."

"Those of you in the room who are committed to making these ideas work in hospitals and health centers – we need that passion more than ever today," she told an estimated 6,000 hospital executives, physicians, nurses, and other providers.

While most Americans have focused on parts of the bill dealing with access to care and insurance pieces of the puzzle, Sebelius said, they should be reminded that the legislation also is geared to "improving the quality of healthcare and changing the delivery system, so we stop doing things that don't work for patients and start doing things that we know work.

"It's about care, about care that's safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered."
With a subtle tone of impatience in her voice, she admonished providers to work harder to be creative about improving delivery of care.

"Too many patients year in and out are hurt or killed because of adverse events that occur in the nation's hospital and other healthcare settings. And we have nearly two million Americans every year who acquire hospital-related infections, contributing to close to 100,000 deaths and as much as $33 billion in additional healthcare costs.

"And at the same time, almost 30% of our healthcare spending, nearly $700 billion a year, is for services that we think are really questionable about improving peoples' health. We're not even sure that they work."

At a meeting with news media after her talk, Sebelius was asked what efforts the Obama administration is undertaking to counter efforts to repeal key pieces of the legislation.

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1 comments on "Sebelius Urges IHI Attendees to Work Harder Toward Quality"


R Daniel King (12/15/2010 at 7:34 AM)
Secretary Sebelius, if you want care to be "safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered," may I suggest you start with CMS. Neither Medicare or Medicaid are "safe" for providers because few can financially survive without private insurers subsidizing CMS's "budget-centered," "inequitable" and not "patient-centered" reimbursement rates. According to the president's economic council, CMS not only underpays for quality while paying for failure, but it is not "effective" in adjusting payments down for new services that over time cost less making CMS "inefficient." Because CMS has regulations it barely understands and an "ineffective" and "inefficient" IT system, both intentional and unintential fraud is out of control. So, if you want care to meet your above standard, start with a CMS reimbursement system that reflects your standard for care.