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Quality Lags at Safety-Net Hospitals
Date:5/13/2008

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"To improve care, you have to have resources," said Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a professor of pediatrics and health policy and management at Harvard Medical School, and president and CEO of the Institute for HealthCare Improvement. "This study confirms that very stressed organizations, that are living hand-to-mouth, are going to have trouble making improvements."

Berwick thinks it's going to take a large investment of government monies to improve quality at these hospitals.

"We ought to, as a nation, regard improvement of health care as a public good," Berwick said. "It's not just a matter of market pressures, but it's something we invest in as a society. We are a nation that needs public sector health care. We need health care to be just, and that means we need safety-net systems, and that means we need to help them."

More information

For more on Medicaid, visit the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.



SOURCES: Rachel M. Werner, M.D., Ph.D., Philadelphia VA Medical Center; Donald M. Berwick, M.D., professor, pediatrics and health policy and management, Harvard Medical School, and president and CEO, Institute for HealthCare Improvement, Boston; May 14, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association


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