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Thursday, July 15, 2010

More medical blogs express concern about Donald Berwick's suitability for CMS head

For a while it seemed only a few medical blogs were expressing concern about Dr. Donald Berwick's suitability to be the head of CMS. See here for one of Dr. RW Donnell's posting on that topic and here for one by Dr. Doug Perednia of the new blog Road to Hellth. Now others are joining it.

The prolific and widely read Dr. David Gorski has submitted a detailed discussion about Dr. Berwick expressing in part concern about Berwick's apparent support for unscientific alternative medicine .See here for the commentary. Additionally, Gorski makes the case, based on quotes from Berwick, that in some regards his views appear to be naive and out of touch with real world physician-patient encounters and relationships. Quoting Gorski:

Berwick strikes me as a very well-meaning person with some good ideas about how to make our health care system less rigid and more responsive to patients’ needs, both medical and nonmedical. Unfortunately, he also appears to be naive to the point of my wondering whether he has any clue what it’s like to practice medicine in the real world or even in the idealized world of academics.

I agree.A number of Berwick's comments appear very naive,unrealistic, and something more expected from someone not actually caring for patients than a physician with any recent background in patient care.As best I can tell he had not been practices medicine for a while.

There is a major disconnect between Berwick's expressed adulation of the NHS and his statement that rationing must be done with his views of patient centerness which he self describes as radical.

Dr. Kimball Atwood,a tireless opponent of non-scientific alternative medicine expressed similar views to Gorski in his essay on the blog Health Care Renewal. See here. Quoting Atwood:

"In February of 2009, Dr. Berwick gave a 'keynote' address at the IOM and Bravewell Collaborative-sponsored Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. He shared the podium with Mehmet Oz, Dean Ornish, Senator Tom Harkin, and other advocates of pseudoscientific health claims. I wrote about the conference at the time, mainly to call attention to its misleading use of the term "integrative medicine": literature emanating from the Summit characterized it as "preventive" and "patient-centered," whereas the only characteristic that distinguishes it from modern medicine is an inclusion of various forms of pseudomedicine. I noticed that Dr. Berwick was on the speaker roster, which I found disappointing: I imagined that he had either gone over to the Dark Side or, perhaps, was sufficiently naive about the topic to have been duped; or, more likely, that he had cynically accepted the offer to further his ambitions."


Florida vico din said...

add appropriate information on health care as it is of public interest for millions of people ... thanks for starting this project.

Chris K. said...

This has been a pretty hot topic on industry blogs, but I really haven't heard much about it on the syndicated news sites. Is it just over the publics head?