Call for Reforms in Medical Education

November 8, 2010

Darrell G. Kirch, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, on Sunday at the group's annual meeting called for a series of reforms of the institutions and the services they provide. While praising the health care reform law Congress passed, Kirch said that it should be viewed as "a crucial first step," and not a resolution of the problems facing American health care. He called on medical schools -- among other things -- to launch new ways to prepare people to lead their institutions, to be more open about medical education's finances and alternative approaches to them, and to redesign health care for the faculty and staff members, and their families, who work in academic medicine. "Data indicate that, despite our knowledge and experience, our faculty and staff members are not always wise consumers of heath care," Kirch said. "We often do not receive basic preventive services or good continuity of care, and too often we overuse tests and procedures despite the best medical evidence. Because many medical schools and teaching hospitals self-insure, they carry all the financial risk for their employees’ health status and health care. That presents an incredible opportunity. Rather than just being one more detached employer lamenting rising health care costs, academic medical centers in many cases are in the best position to improve the health of their faculty and staff."

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