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Hope Hits Streets to Get New Ideas

A new organization of health care leaders wants to talk through the problems of health care, but that doesn’t mean that’s all Hope Street Group wants to do.

“We are very much geared toward action,” Monique Nadeau said.

Nadeau, executive director of the new health-policy brainstorming organization, said Hope Street Group has tackled education issues in the past. The group now turns its attention to health care.

“Hope Street Group convened a group of leaders over the last two years over health care reform,” Nadeau said. “We’re in the business of building coalitions of the reasonable. We are, at heart, a network of entrepreneurs.”

Entrepreneurial innovation, Nadeau said, could be the ticket to get past the familiar rhetoric and prevailing opinions around reforming the health care system.

That’s music to the ears of Catherine Sonquist Forest, a Santa Cruz family practitioner and member of the legislative affairs committee for the California Academy of Family Practice.

“I want to get something done,” Sonquist Forest said, “and I believe that a collaboration founded on innovation and practical solutions has the best chance.”

Implementation of health care reform will be critical to California, she said, and the many details and decisions made now about reform could change the way medicine is practiced for a long time.

“I am hoping that we can hammer out viable recommendations to maximize the access and delivery of primary care in this nation,” she said. “And we have the ear of those in high places for their implementation.”

Nadeau said that the Hope Street Group is finishing its first phase, recruiting physicians and business experts and initiating the discussions. The group decided to focus on the shortage of care in acute, chronic and preventative medicine.

“The goal of what we’re looking at is: What is the right care at the right time by the right person?” she said. “Where are the incentives? What can be done now?  What are the payment holdups?”

Now is the time for anyone who feels they can make a difference to jump in, Sonquist Forest said.

“We finally have a (national health care reform) bill that is not earth-shaking but has the potential to be far-reaching,” she said. “That is, if those with vision and practical knowledge can have at it.”

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