Nothing Is more terrible than ignorance in action, Goethe
With the news that the Senate will not confirm Don Berwick, MD, CMS, Administrator, that expression has moved from ‘ignorance in action’ to ‘maliciousness in action.’
CMS has been leaderless for years, with decades of acting administrators. http://www.cms.gov/History/Downloads/CMSAdministratorsTenure.pdf
Leadership actually matters—without it programs wither, they have no advocates; beneficiaries become voiceless. It is bad enough being leaderless, but it is sheer idiocy not to confirm one of the nation’s leaders for patient safety! Estimates are 100,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors in hospitals alone! Berwick has been an ardent independent advocate to change this.
Not only is patient safety good for the patient. It saves money. One program in Washington State—SCOAP (Surgical Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program—part of the Foundation for Health Care Quality www.qualityhealth.org) saved $50 million over a three year period by eliminating errors and reducing variations in care practices.
For the first time in a long time we have an outstanding nominee who is a patient advocate in a critical and influential position—who is also a physician who understands clinical practice and has the respect of his colleagues.
Not to approve his nomination is a slap in the face to seniors who deserve a knowledgeable and thoughtful advocate to guarantee their safety and access to the best possible care, not just pumping them full of addictive medicines in obscenely profitable ‘pill mills.’
We need to confirm him or we will face even more years of leaderless inertia in agencies that have a direct impact on health care practices and patient safety.
Not to confirm Berwick is truly legislative malpractice.