The recent ruling by the United States Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will no doubt result in continued debate regarding how best to provide consistent, high-quality and affordable health care services.
No matter what your personal opinion may be, one thing is certain. The time is now for everyone to work together to further enhance services and make care more available for all Americans.
Caregivers and insurers must do their part by continuing their unwavering commitment to quality, innovation and doing what is right and best for patients. In addition to ongoing efforts directed at patient safety such as eliminating health care associated infections, this effort must also focus on working with patients to ensure they are receiving the right care at the right place and time-from convenient and primary care practices to advanced hospital settings.
It is time to eliminate unnecessary services that are not helping patients and may, in fact, be detrimental to them. And it is time to implement a best-practice, consistent approach to not only caring for patients' illnesses and medical conditions, but doing all we can to stay healthy in the first place.
In addition, the time is past due for caregivers to be compensated for the quality of their care-not simply the volume of care provided. For our country to be able to afford health care moving forward, we must fully develop and embrace paying for performance-quality-rather than quantity.
Patients must do their part, too.
Much of the money spent on health care services can be attributed to the unhealthy lifestyle choices we often make. It's time for patients to partner with their doctors to reduce the risk factors associated with poor choices such as smoking, excessive drinking, not getting enough exercise, not getting enough sleep and eating a high-fat, high-sodium diet.
Increasing the number of people with health insurance and access to care has long been a priority for health care professionals and organizations across the United States. After the Supreme Court's ruling, we need to continue our efforts to attain that goal and make the promise of coverage and access a reality.
Glenn Steele Jr., M.D. is President and CEO of Geisinger Health System