NASHVILLE – Two of the nation’s most well-known health care figures met in Nashville to discuss their views on the future of the nation’s health care system in a time of economic and political uncertainty.
Hosted by the Nashville Health Care Council, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator (CMS) Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., and former U.S. Sen. William H. Frist, M.D., shared their insights in a one-on-one conversation about health care reform and other health policy issues with an audience of more than 500 Nashville health care industry leaders.
Dr. Berwick reflected on the work to implement the reforms in the Affordable Care Act and gave his perspectives on the early successes. “In a relatively short time, we have seen progress through better access to care, improved benefits and lower costs for Americans. As we work to lower health care costs across the system, we continue to implement reforms that change the way we pay doctors to use our health care dollars more wisely, rewarding coordination and disease prevention.”
Sen. Frist also recognized the necessity of reform and the unsustainable state of the current system. He noted that Nashville is positioned to play a key role: “The Nashville health care community possesses the unique experience, know-how and innovative thinking to help shape the policy discussion in Washington. Nashville is home to health care innovators and we are poised to utilize our expertise to offer dynamic solutions to solve these critical issues.”
As administrator of CMS, Dr. Berwick oversees the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides care to nearly one in three Americans. Dr. Berwick also is responsible for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which represents the first significant Medicare and Medicaid reform since the creation of the two programs more than four decades ago. Sen. Frist is a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He currently leads Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands and the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). Sen. Frist is also co-chair of both First Lady Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America to eliminate childhood obesity and the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Project in Washington, D.C.
“Nashville’s health care community is fortunate to count Senator Frist among our own, even more so when coupled with the candid discussion today with Dr. Berwick,” said Council President Caroline Young. “Many Council members are directly impacted by the policies implemented by CMS, and monitor any developments closely. Today was an invaluable opportunity to hear Dr. Berwick’s insights on ongoing reform and other issues.”
About the Nashville Health Care Council
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Worldwide, Nashville’s health care industry generates more than $70 billion in revenue and over 400,000 jobs, and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.
Photo credit: (c) 2011, Paul Wharton, Nashville.