5.15.2009

Book Talk: Health Care Will Not Reform Itself

The CEO, more than any other executive, is often the person responsible for creating and setting a vision, not only for his or her company but sometimes for an industry as a whole.

That can be the basis for an insightful book, which is the kind we like to publish. Unfortunately, we don’t find many CEOs who have the time or inclination to write a book.

Therefore, we are delighted to be publishing Health Care Will Not Reform Itself: A User's Guide to Refocusing and Reforming American Health Care, a new book by George C. Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest private health care plan.

Halvorson shows why what he calls the nonsystem we now use is failing. He then answers President Obama’s mandate for reform with a profound incentive-based, system-supported, goal-focused, care-improvement plan.

He uses examples of successful systems across the world to show that while good health care is expensive, it is nowhere near as costly as bad health care (something we lean advocates have long believed).

His recommendations range from setting new priorities to focusing on preventive care to better use of information technology.

We hope this timely book will be an important voice in the debate over health care reform.

By the way, all royalties from the sale of this book go to Oakland Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved.

Do you have a question or comment about a book(s) that you would like addressed in Book Talk? Email me directly at Ralph.bernstein@taylorandfrancis.com.

1 comments:

Daniel said...

I saw Mr. Halverson speak at the HIMSS ’09 Chicago conference and was very impressed. I am reading “Health Care Will Not Reform Itself” and I must say its one of the best books I have ever read. I wholly agree with most if not all of what Mr. Halverson has to say.

That normally would be a dangerous thing to say getting on the bandwagon of what one man thinks should be done when there are so many alternative options and opinions.
No doubt the picture is much bigger than what 159 pages can describe or offer a solution for.

The penning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States took a collective and integrated effort. Solving the healthcare crisis no less is a massive task that will take the collective and integrated efforts of many people and ideas.
What Mr. Halverson is saying is well articulated and makes common sense.

One issue I would like to clear up. He does state that the increasing costs of the work force is one of the factors of our overall increased costs.
I have been a RN for 17 years and have a Bachelors of Information Technology as well.
I worked in Chicago for two years for a hospital who “cut out the middle man” from per diem nursing agencies and gave those wages to the RN instead directly (and the hospital was still saving money by doing that!). RNs are still underpaid, especially those who work in ERs and critical care units.

Comparing the average wage of a RN in this country today and the wages of what we are really worth (I will use the ideal wages in Chicago where this one hospital “cut out the middle man”) I would say that as a profession we are underpaid by around $37,440 a year per RN (using $30/hr as an average wage compared to the $50/hr I was making in Chicago as a per diem RN). Doing simple math and computing the 17 years that I have been a RN, I have been so far underpaid $636, 480.00 in this 17 year period.

Is it possible that doctors might want to share some of the money overstuffed on their plates that they are consuming and…some of the side dish at least for the RNs who save patients lives very day. Regarding this issue, like what Mr. Halvorson says “That’s another whole set of ethical issues for another book.”


Every American should read this and be outraged and screaming for changes to be made. What was that recent report from Harvard University? 60% of all bankruptcies (many from hard working middle class people) are directly attributed to medical bills. With the recent rate of unemployment and massive layoffs adding that static to the mix it’s clear that the middle class is literally being sucked into an economic black hole.