According to Bill Harrington, chairman of the WCA's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Healthcare Reform:
"Even though the healthcare industry is a vibrant economic driver in Westchester County, generating $8.3 billion a year. But we still have to figure out how to control healthcare costs, yet have access to quality healthcare services. These are the most critical issues facing us today..."
- In New York State, 31 hospitals have failed during the past ten years and many more are on the financial brink;
- Medical malpractice insurance premiums have increased 140%, compared to 31% elsewhere in the nation;
- Physicians are fleeing; in 2009, New York lost 140. The average age of a physician in New York is now 52;
- New York State hospitals educate between 15-20% of young physicians, but they join practices elsewhere;
- We are facing unprecedented Medicaid cuts which will impact how we care for the neediest;
- Soaring healthcare costs are stressing employers and families alike, with no end in sight.
"We need informed, rational, discussion that results in informed, rational policies," says Harrington.
To address the complex problems, expose the true cost drivers, and identify the solutions, the WCA organized what turned out to be a brilliant symposium on healthcare reform on September 22. Three keynoters of national renown and 21 panelists, all leaders in the healthcare spectrum, brought to the fore their individual perspectives, honed by years of experience and an extraordinary depth of knowledge. (Visit our microsite WCAhealthcare for more information about the participants and agenda.)
Spurred by that event, our Blue Ribbon Task Force on Healthcare Reform is actively working on an advocacy platform for 2012.
"The impact of healthcare reform is so great, we must be ahead of the curve," said Harrington. "The time has come for business to be involved, not just policy wonks. Our task will be to bring everyone to the table and have an adult conversation. The fact is, everyone has skin in the game."