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Cradle to Grave Universal Health care, where Annual Birthday health screening based care , is supported with mobile digital health information system; and preventative health care is provided in the respective home environment of patients, is the wave of the future health care reform in the USA and across the Globe.
The new vision should be about evidence based care that is portabile, regular pre-emptive annual health screening; and mobile web data base that is available to the patient, physician and public health system at the same time so as to develop an evidence based health care system that is individualized to the specific needs of each person and citizen.
Yes we can, health care is a human right and we need to protect and promote it at all cost!
I am a public health physician, and scientist currently working in the health field; as the Corporate Director for over 12 home health care agencies in the Metropolitan Washington, DC; Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Delta region of Colorado, Los Angeles, California and Allentown, Pennsylvania.
We provide skilled and non skilled health care to patients in their own homes at the direction and guidance of their attending physician.
This makes care available to patients in their own home environment as well as reduce cost to care due to hospitalization and institutionalization.
Our service is considered as Boutique Medicine by some circles but we refer to it as Human Touch and back to the future when the Attending physician used to visit patients in their own homes some 50 years ago, before the advent of modern gigantic and complex hospitals, and their associated expensive and at times high risk accessories. As such, we take modern heatlh care and associated technological advancement to people's homes and their environment where they heal and recover faster.
Prior to coming to the USA in 1993, I was working with the British National Health Service and when I discovered President William Clinton was proposing a heatlh care reform, I wrote to the then health care reform team and was invited to come to the USA and present my own paper to First Lady Hilary Clinton team entitled : Crade to Grave- Health Care Reform, An Idea Whose Time Has Come. I reviewed the global health care system, by focusing on Scandinavian, British, German, Canadian and Japanese Health Care Systems and comparing them with the US Health Care System.
My focus was on making Preventative Medical Care Universal and mandatory to all according to their age and sex and current health status. Just like the Car Industry, the Insurance System should be made to work for people to keep them healthy and not wait until they are too sick to benefit from preventative heatlh care.
As such I proposed that at each Birthday, every citizen should get a letter from his attending physician, summarizing his or health risk factors, current status and future prospective and invite them for annual Birth Day health Check. Obviously the content of the screening will vary according to the age, sex and predisposing factor of each individual. I also suggested A Portable Medical Record System that each patient is given at the end of each visit and can take with him or her to any future visit.
The Medical System will be portable, electronic and will be available to each patient, attending physician and national data base. As a Public Health Physician and Medical Scientists who have worked in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America, the most critical deficit in all health systems is that there is viable data about prospective patient needs, based on lifestyle, behavior, and current disease spectrum.
All the CDC and NIH data bases are using out of date mortality data that does not reflect morbidity and risk factors for each age group, as such they are planning for the dead people and not for living populations.
The Patient Communication Log or Portable Medical Record will change this frustrating situation by providing up-to-date Evidence based medicine and preventative care that is tailored to the specific needs of each patient, reviewed at least once a year at their birth day. I wrote a proposal to the NIH Research Team about making such Portable Data Base available to patients, physicians and the public health system but unfortunately failed to implement it due to lack of sponsorship and resources.
I believe the current health care reform, should address health safety and well-being of each citizen both tat the Management Information System i.e the Medical Record System level as well as making health care available based on evidence that is collected on each Citizen's Birthday at annual basis with all appropriate physical and emotional evaluation.
Then the health care reform will be guided by the notion of making every citizen healthy with the advanced medical technology; and not wait until the patient had all the symptoms and signs of death. Yes, Health Care Reform is needed to ensure that we pay for staying healthy and productive; and not for healing after we get sick alone. This is a big paradigm shift from the current out of date and callous system, and the Medical profession and interest groups such as Insurance companies who make money out of the misery of people will not like it. However, if they know healthy people will work and pay for their insurance and dead people cannot afford health care, then they will change their mind and work on keeping each citizen healthy as they get their payment for keeping the citizen healthy instead of documenting pathologies.
This preventative, safety and well-being based care is already happening for all our technologies such as cars, houses and electronic gadgets, that we pay to have the best utility and function and not wait until they broke down. Fortunately, current up-to-date knowledge about our physiology and immune system supports this idea. We are designed to live up to 120 years with fairly good health if we know how to look after our emotional, behavioral, physical and psychological health.
We need to practice evidence based health care and that can only happen if every body is given at least annual Birthday health screening and relevant evidence based care while they are still healthy and able to enjoy life. When we get sick as we all do, we need to get modern first class medicine in our own home setting and not wait to get into the health institutions which are filled with iatrogenic infections which are more difficult to treat.
I trust it is clear that the Cradle to Grave Health Care System, is medically and fiscally sound idea and most importantly creates a healthy thriving community that continues to be productive until 120 years of life span. So, I say, let us modify both the health information system, annual birthday health screening and care for people in their own homes. It is fiscally, medically and culturally appropriate to do so.
I will be happy to furnish you with additional information at your convenience. Thank you and wish all the best. Learn from President Clinton and involve every one in all your deliberations and report to us on a regular basis and ask for our participation as you are doing now. Bless you.
Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH Global Strategic Enterprises www.Globalbelai4u.blogspot.com Globalbelai7@gmail.com voice: 703.933.8737 and 571.225.5736
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Reform in the 21st Century
Committee on Ways and Means
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Chairman Rangel, Ranking Member Camp, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to join you for a critical conversation about health reform in America. Health reform has advanced thanks to your work and willingness to move forward together with other House Committees. We appreciate your hard work to enact reform. It is urgently needed.
Health care costs are crushing families, businesses, and government budgets. Since 2000, health insurance premiums have almost doubled and health care premiums have grown three times faster than wages. Just last month, a survey found over half of all Americans, insured and uninsured, cut back on health care in the last year due to cost. And behind these statistics are stories of struggles for too many American families.
Families who face rising premiums – now over $12,000, when it was $6,000 a decade ago. Parents choosing between health insurance and their mortgage because they can’t make ends meet because their paycheck is standing still but health care costs are rising much faster than inflation. Today health care costs are the big squeeze on middle class families and these challenges are growing as the economic picture worsens. And on top of all of this, in the last eight years an additional seven million Americans have become uninsured.
And we know that during this recession, hundreds of thousands of people are losing health insurance as they lose their jobs.
Even families who do have some coverage are suffering. From 2003 to 2007, the number of “under-insured” families – those who pay for coverage but are unprotected against high costs – rose by 60 percent.
Still, we have by far the most expensive health system in the world. We spend 50 percent more per person than the average developed country. The U.S. spends more on health care than housing or food.
And the situation is getting worse. The United States spent about $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007; $1 trillion more than what was spent in 1997, and half as much as is projected for 2018.
High and rising health costs have certainly contributed to the current economic crisis. Rising health costs represent the greatest threat to our long-term economic stability. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, 25 percent of our economic output will be tied up in the health system, limiting other investments and priorities.
This is why I share the President’s conviction that “health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” Inaction is not an option. The status quo is unacceptable, and unsustainable.
We are already on our way to making health reform a reality. In just over 100 days, this President has made great strides to advance the goal of reducing costs, guaranteeing choice and assuring quality, affordable health care to all Americans.
Within days of taking office, the President signed into law the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This program’s success in covering millions of uninsured children is a hallmark of the bipartisanship and public-private partnerships we envision for health reform.
The President then signed the Recovery Act, which includes essential policies that will protect health insurance for the American people, support groundbreaking research, and make important investments in our health care infrastructure.
And just last week, members of Congress passed a budget that includes an historic commitment to health reform.
Delivering on this commitment and enacting comprehensive health reform is one of my top priorities. The Obama Administration is focused on passing health reform legislation that will end the unsustainable status quo and adhere to eight basic principles.
First, we believe that reform must reduce the long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government. The high cost of care is crippling businesses, who are struggling to provide care to their employees and remain competitive. It is driving budget deficits and weakening our economy. We must pass comprehensive reform that makes health care affordable for businesses, government, and families.
Second, we must protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs. Today, too many patients leave the hospital worried about paying the bills rather than returning to health. They have reason to be concerned. In America, half of all personal bankruptcies are related to medical expenses. It’s time to fix a system that has plunged millions into debt, simply because they have fallen ill.
Third, we will guarantee choice of doctors and health plans. No American should be forced to give up the doctor they trust or the health plan they like. If you like your current health care, you can keep it.
Fourth, we will make sure that Americans who lose or change jobs can keep their coverage. Americans should not lose their health care simply because they have lost their job.
Fifth, we must end barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions. In Kansas and across the country, I have heard painful stories from families who have been denied basic care or offered insurance at astronomical rates because of a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies should no longer have the right to pick and choose. We will not allow these companies to insure only the healthy and leave the sick to suffer.
Sixth, we must assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans. The large number of uninsured Americans impose a hidden tax on other citizens as premiums go up, and leaves too many Americans wondering where they will turn if they get sick. A system that leaves millions of Americans on the outside of the doctor’s office looking in is unjustifiable and unsustainable.
Seventh, we must make important investments in prevention and wellness. The old adage is true – an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. But for too long, we’ve sunk all our resources into cures and shortchanged prevention. It’s time to make preventing illness and disease the foundation of our health care system.
And finally, any reform legislation must take steps to improve patient safety and the quality of care in America. Our country is home to some of the finest, most advanced medicine in the world. But today, healthcare associated infections – infections caught in a hospital or other settings -- are one of the leading causes of death in our nation. 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of these and other medical errors -- more than car accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. These numbers are not acceptable for the world’s richest nation. We must sharply reduce the number of medical errors, keep patients safe and ensure all Americans receive high-quality care.
As we work to enact policies that adhere to these principles, the President is committed to hearing from people in communities across the nation and on both sides of the aisle. In March, he held a White House health care forum and several regional forums in places like Michigan, Iowa, Vermont, North Carolina and California. There, bipartisan forums brought together people from all perspectives – across the political spectrum and representing all people with a stake in the system – to focus on solutions.
I look forward to continuing this bipartisan process and I am eager to work with this Committee and your colleagues in the House and Senate to deliver the reform we so desperately need.
Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conversation with you and your colleagues. I look forward to taking your questions.
Last revised: June 05,2009