Doctors sit down in Burlington to diagnose heath care reform.
The Vermont Medical Society held a conference in UVM's Medical Center Sunday. The event offered medical professionals the opportunity to hear and address how reform will be implemented.
Vermont Cancer Center Director Claire Verschragen had multiple questions for panel guests at a morning lecture. "I think it's very refreshing to hear all these minds here asking the question, "How can we do this better?'," she said.
Verschragen says she came to the state a little more than a year ago because of the on-going reform debate echoing across the Green Mountains. She says she wanted to be a part of it.
The Green Mountain Care Board, and its Chairwoman Dr. Anya Rader-Wallack, are charged with designing and managing Vermont's reform. That entails staying within or receiving an exemption for federally-mandated reform requirements while also setting a course toward a single-payer system.
Rader Wallack says true change needs to be doctor-prescribed in order to work. "I think today's conference is a great example of how to involve physicians," she said, "I think it's one example of how we can start to draw more and more of the physician community into this discussion and have them seize that leadership role."
To succeed, experts and doctors say the new system will need to provide affordable care without pricing out cutting-edge equipment and research.
Fletcher Allen C.E.O Dr. John R. Brumsted says improving computing will be critical to improving care. "I hope that we can craft some solutions, because right now we have an I.T. Tower of Babel," he said.
Medical record digitalization aims to bolster communication and decrease redundancy between care providers. Panelists believe that doing so could pay huge dividends. However, even a relatively simple change like standardization of note taking could prove challenging.
Though daunting, Verschragen says the work will pay-off. "I don't think these are obstacles I think they're opportunities," she said.
How well the state's reform rises to those challenges may ultimately determine the overhaul's price tag.