Northwest Health Magazine Spring 2013 IssueNorthwest Health Spring 2013

In My View

Why Health Care Reform Is Necessary and Inevitable

Group Health's president and CEO discusses health care reform and how policymakers around the country are looking at changes that will encourage other health care systems to emulate what we already do.

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President and CEO Scott ArmstrongWithout question, you can find the best medical care in the world here in the United States. We have great doctors, cutting-edge treatments and technology, and world-renowned medical institutions.
While this is true, it's also true that our country's medical system is badly broken. Health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate, but the increase isn't translating into better health for our country's population. This is why health care reform is necessary and inevitable. The question is: What will it take to provide affordable, high quality care for everyone?

As reform begins to unfold, it's becoming more and more clear that Group Health can help answer this question. Around the country, policymakers are looking at changes that will encourage other health care systems to emulate what we already do. Things like our focus on prevention and evidence-based medicine, our electronic systems that connect patients to their health care team, and the way we encourage patients and physicians to make treatment decisions together. Stories in this issue of Northwest Health offer a look at how our innovations and focus on prevention improve lives every day.

While we're excited to play an important role in health reform, we know we can't change the entire health care system on our own. So we're also working with leading health care organizations around the state to provide coordinated care that delivers better results.
In Spokane, for example, we're working on urgent care services with Providence Health Care and we're sharing clinical information. In Tacoma, we're collaborating with Franciscan Health System to improve the use of electronic health records. In Snohomish County, we're exploring opportunities with The Everett Clinic to reduce emergency room visits and unnecessary hospital admissions.
Building a better health care system in this country isn't going to be easy, but the progress we've made at Group Health in recent years demonstrates real opportunities to move in a better direction. I'm happy that we can share what we've learned with leaders in government, business, and local communities. Our first obligation, however, is to our members. Serving you is what truly drives us to pioneer new approaches that lead to our goal: better health and more affordable care for everyone.

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