Panel talks health care at Cobb Chamber breakfast
CCC also honored this year's Health Hero Award Winners
Health care is changing and America’s doctors need to be part of the discussion. At least that’s what Dr. William Cooper, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, said Monday morning at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce First Monday breakfast.
Cooper and his colleague Dr. Barry Mangel, an interventional cardiologist, sat on a cardiovascular health panel at the meeting. In addition to answering general questions about cardiovascular health, the physicians touched on health care reform and the future of health care from a business standpoint.
“Probably one of the most frustrating pieces of the job has nothing to do with the job itself,” Cooper said. “It’s these formalities that are imposed upon us that sometimes don’t appear to be logical, rational thought processes. I think it’s incumbent on physicians like myself and Barry to get involved on a different level. As I told my partner last week you’ve got to come out of the operating room and sit around the table with decision-makers so you can have a voice.
“I think guys like Tom Price and Phil Gingrey who are in Congress want to be that one degree of freedom away from us, but we need to be a part of that discussion so that we can be part of a rational health care system that’s going to make a serious difference.”
Last fall Georgia Rep. Tom Price introduced H.R. 3000 or the “Empowering Patients First Act.” This act would repeal “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” sometimes referred to as Obamacare, and attempt to offer greater flexibility of coverage to patients and employers, lower health care costs, make health insurance more affordable and improve the health care delivery structure.
Cooper noted the link between lowering health care costs and improving health care delivery.
“You have a lot of duplication in health care services,” he said. “A patient goes to Barry and has an echo. Then he comes to me and I don’t see that echo. I repeat the echo. When you duplicate that thousands of times a day across multiple health care systems in the country it just adds on to that. But it doesn’t improve anything because we still don’t have the same information. We’re not reading from the same playbook.”
Cooper and Mangel explained that WellStar Health System is working toward streamlining cardiovascular medicine by creating clinics that house cardiologists, cardiac surgeons and anesthesiologists who all work together to make decisions about the patient.
“It’s subtle, but it’s not so subtle in a way,” Mangel said. “It’s not subtle because we’re starting to put the focus on the patient’s problems at the very center of a system that’s very fragmented. By putting a clinic in place where all the doctors have to be in the same area to give a diagnosis, it’s very different.”
At the meeting Cobb Chamber recognized this year’s Health Hero Award winners. Donna Chambers took home the award for her work as a nurse practitioner with the Kennesaw State University Community Clinic at MUST Ministries.
Cobb Alcohol Task Force also took home a Health Hero Award for its successful efforts to reduce underage drinking and youth binge drinking.