Friday, January 25, 2013

Showing Our Work to Our Legislators

Maryland lawmakers have begun their annual legislative session in Annapolis with many pressing issues on the agenda, from finances to gun control.  Perhaps the most pressing issue however is healthcare – it affects each and every Marylander and is a huge source of budgetary stress.

I had the privilege this week of welcoming two of our District 42 legislators, Senator Jim Brochin and Delegate Susan Aumann, to GBMA Hunt Valley, our site that has been operational as a patient centered medical home for the longest time.  Among those joining me were Harry Johnson,  the GBMC  HealthCare Board chair; Jim Stradtner, chairman of the board’s Strategic Planning Committee; Mark Lamos, M.D., physician at the Hunt Valley practice and president of Greater Baltimore Medical Associates; and Robyn Schaffer, Hunt Valley practice manager. 

The presentation, “What Is The GBMC HealthCare System Doing To Create A Better System Of Care For Our Region”, highlighted our efforts over the past few years to transform care to be better coordinated and to increase value through the eyes of the patient.  We reminded Senator Brochin and Delegate Aumann about the capabilities of our wonderful hospital, our outstanding surgeons and specialists, and our award-winning Gilchrist Hospice Care. We then shared with them how we’ve launched Greater Baltimore Health Alliance (GBHA), that joins private practicing physicians with GBMA doctors in alignment towards the quadruple aim of better health, better care, lower cost and more joy for those providing the care. We shared how the medical homes have implemented electronic medical records; how they have expanded their hours of care; how they have used the patient portal myGBMC to improve communication and how they have begun to provide care in new ways – like group visits for diabetics.

I shared how the United States of America has the most expensive healthcare in the world; that the costs are putting extreme financial pressure on our state and country and making it difficult for small businesses to compete but isn’t yielding better results for patients than healthcare in other countries that spend much less of their GDP.  (Health expenditures in the United States are more than 18 percent of GDP while in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom the expenses range between six and 12 percent).

We absolutely have the best trained doctors and nurses in the world, and they work very, very hard, but they work every day in a broken system that is clearly not the best healthcare system in the world if the measure is value for what people pay.  If someone is in a motor vehicle crash and they need immediate access to emergency services, or they have a heart attack, the best place for them to be is in America.  But our national system just doesn’t manage chronic diseases very well and that has to change.  We have got to get better at coordinated, evidence-based care.

These elected officials now know that the GBMC HealthCare System is working hard to provide the  citizens that they serve a better healthcare product. 

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