Every once in awhile, those in government actually appoint the perfect person to do an important job at a critical time.
Very soon, President Obama will nominate Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid. He is the right man at the right time. He has a passion for improving the quality of health care even as he demands that it be more efficient, less expensive and more attentive to the needs of patients.
A renowned pediatrician, Dr. Berwick also founded the Institute for Health Care Improvement (IHI
) in 1991 to work with doctors and policymakers around the world to find better ways to deliver safe and effective care.
Others have written important portraits of Berwick. One of the best is by Maggie Mahar, the author of Money-Driven Medicine
who offers an extended piece
about him in her essential blog Health Beat.
I know about Berwick because of a film I produced, Money-Driven Medicine
, based on Maggie's book. Berwick is both the head and the heart of that film. He speaks softly but he carries a big stick: a forceful argument that we have allowed our health care system to decline--even as costs increase--because we have a system of incentives that values quantity over quality.
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