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Sebelius Urges IHI Attendees to Work Harder Toward Quality

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 8, 2010

She pointed to enhanced benefits for Medicare beneficiaries, who, she said have been "lied to" by opponents of healthcare reform about what would happen to their coverage after the legislation passed.

"We're in the middle of open enrollment, which began the 15th of November to the end of December," Sebelius said. "And this was really the first opportunity to confront some of the misinformation to Medicare beneficiaries.

"They've been told terrible things about what was going to happen to their plans, their choice, their prices, their doctor, and not until they had the book in their hands and could make choices for 2011, were we able to say, it isn't true, you basically have been lied to. This is the information, here are your choices...And make it clear, there are additional benefits, there are more choices; the prices are better."

In her keynote, Sebelius repeatedly praised the IHI, whose founder and director for 20 years was Donald Berwick, MD, whom the Obama administration hired away to direct the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"I had to go and apologize to IHI staff personally for stealing Don Berwick," she said, but Berwick "is absolutely the right leader at this historic moment," in part because many of his ideas about improving care are now embedded in the new healthcare law.

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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.