SAN DIEGO: Health Care Has Reached a ‘Critical Intersection’
"Health care in San Diego is at a crossroads, " Charles Edwards writes in a column in today's San Diego Union-Tribune. Edwards is a former Commissioner of the FDA and served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He also was a past president of the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation and the Scripps Institutes of Medicine and Science. He argues that "either [we can] embrace change that will ensure the high- quality care San Diego deserves, or we can continue to limp along with our current inadequate health system." Noting that the Scripps health system "has been synonymous with high-quality, compassionate medical care and world-class science," Edwards asserts that Scripps can lead the way in health care reform. He notes that Scripps is not about "brick and mortar," but rather an "intricate collection of outstanding physicians, excellent nurses, dedicated management, caring trustees and donors, and most importantly, the patients who bind these groups together." As a result, Scripps has the "unique opportunity to realize its full potential and create a health care system what is world class and would truly be best for patients," Edwards maintains. But, there are road blocks along the way which may prevent the institution from achieving its goals, he notes. The "hurdles that stand in the way" include caring for the uninsured; declining reimbursements; excess capacity; nursing shortages; and increased regulation and health care plan consolidation. Edwards argues that Scripps "has crafted and is implementing a plan to create partnerships that will result in the best that medicine has to offer." He concludes, "I am optimistic that the continued evolution of Scripps into one of the nation's leading health systems, one that puts patients at the center of everything it does, is within grasp, and will be realized" (2/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.