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IHI: Berwick on ACOs, Congress, Fraud

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 7, 2011

5. Pricing failures: "We have very good evidence first of enormous price differences of the exact same service between here and other countries. The differences are orders of magnitude," Berwick said. He gave as examples the costs of MRI testing, and certain kinds of durable medical equipment and prosthetics.

6. Fraud and abuse: Berwick said some of this is linked to organized crime. Authority in the Affordable Care Act has enabled federal agencies to pre-screen suppliers and providers to assure they haven't been implicated in prior scams.

Berwick, who recently got his own Medicare card, says he is looking forward to returning to his home in Boston. He and his wife are planning a cross-country ski trip at their home in New Hampshire, if and when the snow comes, because "Washington is a place where one gains weight because there's no time for exercise."

Walking the halls of the forum yesterday, Berwick seemed in excellent spirits as he greeted old friends, IHI co-workers, and hospital executives. He appeared genuinely surprised at being treated like a healthcare rock star, patiently withstanding lengthy applause whenever he was recognized during a session or keynote. He said, however, that it made him uncomfortable.

"One of my concerns in these few days of transition for me, is this overpersonalization. This really isn't about me. I had a great time [at CMS] I had a wonderful opportunity, but I'm ready for the next one...And I'm a little uncomfortable that this is about a person. It's about a nation, and how are we going to get to the answer."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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3 comments on "IHI: Berwick on ACOs, Congress, Fraud"


tp (12/8/2011 at 8:10 PM)
After 40 years as hospital/healthcare administrator - IMHO berwick was on the right course- "seamless care", communication among providers and their patient's from pre to acute, to post care. Not withstanding improvement in a person's quality of life, cost savings would far surpass proposed reductions in medicare etc. Duplication of high cost services, hospitals and specialists all "doing their own thing" (reimbursed for tests/procedures) regrettably doesn't result in improved outcomes for the patient !

Barbara Van Patten (12/8/2011 at 6:38 PM)
The country is missing a huge opportunity here. Shame on the Senate!!

TumTum (12/7/2011 at 10:21 AM)
Seems almost Gandhian! Turning the other cheek..What a loss for the country! Imagine a group with less than 10% approval rating denying a person who has a 100% rating amongst the healthcare stakeholders. I am deeply dismayed that all of us in healthcare didn't initiate a petition drive to retain Dr. Berwick. We could have done it. But we didn't. And we'll pay - all of us - when regulators and lobbyists wrench control.