Q&A: Don Berwick Reflects on Healthcare Reform, Part I

Cheryl Clark, December 6, 2012

A year after leaving his position as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Don Berwick, MD, talked with HealthLeaders Media. This is the first part of the interview. Part II is here.

Don Berwick, MD, walked away from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' headquarters  last December, a few weeks  after he turned 65 and became eligible for its services.

After 18 months as administrator, he was compelled to leave, he acknowledges, because he knew political opposition to President Obama—unfairly re-focused on a comment Berwick made about the British healthcare system—would block his appointment's required Senate confirmation.

So he's spent the last year at home with his family in Boston and New Hampshire, but also in visits to hospitals and other caregiver organizations, listening to complaints and problems and giving advice.

He's been hearing organizations say they're finding their own solutions to reach the so-called triple aim of better care for individuals, better health for populations, and reductions in per-capita costs. It's a concept he introduced in 2008.

Berwick, a pediatrician, co-founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement 23 years ago. Some say he was the brains behind the quality/value movement leading to many provisions now engrained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the regulations that followed.

So what does he think now, after a year away from CMS, about the pace and direction of healthcare reform? And now that PPACA has passed Supreme Court and presidential election hurdles, would he return to CMS?

He spoke with HealthLeaders Media on Monday about Medicare, and the coming era of "all-or-nothing" metrics, and about scoring providers on how well they keep patients in their homes, and out of healthcare settings. The interview lasted more than an hour. This is the first of two parts.


Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Twitter icon