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May-23-2008 13:01printcomments

Is End of Life Care Too Expensive?

Delivery System Committee Faces Tough Decisions.


Salem-News.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - In 2007, The Healthy Oregon Act passed with bipartisan support. The legislation established the Oregon Health Fund Board that is tasked with developing a plan to reform Oregon’s health care system.

Of the six committees organized to inform and assist the board, the Delivery System Committee has perhaps the most challenging task - addressing cost containment.

In a presentation to the OBA Health Policy Committee, Vice-chair of the Delivery System Committee Dr. Doug Walta laid out what he called the bottom line issues including; the 600,000 Oregonians who lack access to basic health care, the meteoric rise in costs, and the huge variations in quality of care.

According to Walta, the current system is unsustainable – morally and financially. “Everyone knows it is dysfunctional but no one knows how to fix it” said Walta.

When asked to comment for the Balanced Voice, Walta added, “I do worry that until we have the ability to address the ethical issues that occur in health care such as how we die, how much is too much, when to limit unproven technology, and our personal responsibility in our own care, we will never solve the cost escalation.”

Rep. Ron Maurer, R-Grants Pass co-owner of the Rogue River Health Clinic is a member of the House Health Care Committee and a leading advocate for health care in the Republican Caucus. Maurer believes our current drive toward more expensive care is bankrupting the system.

“We need to pay for what works. Quite frankly, we give specialists a pass when it comes to new technology but demand study after study when it comes to funding primary care.”

Maurer states, “We do it all the time. We squabble over pennies for a vaccination here and a teeth cleaning there but we spend tens of thousands of dollars with little thought for the high-tech procedures at the end of life.”

It is time to challenge all of our assumptions about health and health care. We must accept that more is not always better and more health care does not always lead to better health outcomes.

Policy makers must accept that this change will only occur when we reprioritize our spending because, like it or not, money is the change agent.

Your Oregon, Your Health Community Meetings

Health Care is on everyone’s mind. Health insurance costs, quality of care, access in our communities – there are many concerns that affect all of us.

Join us at a community near you for an important public discussion about health care in Oregon.

* LaGrande - Wednesday, May 28th

* Ontario - Thursday, May 29th

* Coos Bay - Tuesday, June 3th

* Eugene - Wednesday, June 4th

* Bend - Thursday, June 5th

* Portland - Tuesday, June 10th

* Salem - Wednesday, June 11th

* Corvallis - Thursday, June 19th

All meetings are held from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. For more information, visit the Oregon Health Forum: healthforum.org/events/meetings.html

Source: Oregon Business Association




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Henry Ruark May 24, 2008 6:53 pm (Pacific time)

Dunno if there is any register now, or even can be, of elderly's Advance Directive information. The A/D legally records what the person states as personal choice on many difficult areas of decision involved in the dying process. Perhaps that information can be coded for protection, yet used for due-care when any so registered is in last-process, to avoid undesired and surely undesirable over-plan costs. This working group might be able to work out some way to do so, protecting elderly last wishes while sensibly helping to avoid waste, which most would agree should not be part of legacy-left.

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