I hope that as hospitalists you will take a closer look at the HHS initiatives I’ve described here—and others—and consider becoming a participant. Hospital medicine physicians are already leading many of these initiatives and are a positive force for health system transformation. As I look back on my last four-plus years at CMS (which sometimes feel like 30 years), I am amazed by how much progress we have made in improving the quality of care (e.g. over 95% of measures in CMS quality programs have improved over the last three years), spending dollars more wisely (e.g. lowest cost growth in the last four years in over 50 years), and improving the health of the nation (e.g. decreased smoking rates). Our nation is moving rapidly toward accountable, alternative payment models, including the recent legislation to “fix the SGR,” and I have seen hospitalists lead progress towards adopting these models nationally and locally. A challenge for all of us is to accelerate the pace of positive change and relentlessly pursue improved patient outcomes and a higher performing health system. But I know hospitalists are up to this challenge.
Thank you for all the work that you do every day on behalf of your patients and a better health system.
Dr. Conway is a hospitalist, CMS’ chief medical officer, and deputy administrator for innovation and quality. He is a former member of the SHM Public Policy Committee and a frequent speaker at SHM events.