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In one of the most hopeful pieces written in years on health care reform, the New Yorker‘s Atul Gawande suggests that treating chronic problem patients a lot better may be the key to actually lowering costs. Dr. Jeffrey Brenner of Camden, NJ, is leading the way.
Brenner wasn’t all that interested in costs; he was more interested in helping people who received bad health care. But in his experience the people with the highest medical costs—the people cycling in and out of the hospital—were usually the people receiving the worst care. “Emergency-room visits and hospital admissions should be considered failures of the health-care system until proven otherwise,” he told me—failures of prevention and of timely, effective care.
Can a new approach to an old problem actually solve it? For America’s sake, let’s hope so.
Found by Alicia via The New Yorker.