While the health care reform debate drags on in Congress, some Alaska experts have taken a hard look at how health care works (or doesn't work) here in our state. In its draft report, the Alaska Health Care Commission offers valuable insights into the problems.
The panel's diagnosis is right on the mark:
"The delivery of care is fragmented," its report says. "Costs are unaffordably high and continue to climb, seemingly out of control. Too many Alaskans lack health care coverage, or have coverage but can't find a doctor who will accept them as a patient ... Consumers aren't happy. Providers are frustrated. The system as currently designed is not sustainable."
What to do, then?
The commission says Alaska (and the nation) should drastically overhaul how medical care is organized and delivered. We need a system, it says, that "focuses on creating health, not simply treating illness and injury."
Here in Anchorage, the commission cited the Southcentral Foundation as a model. The agency revamped its operation to offer its Native "customers" a one-stop shopping point for most medical and health services, delivered by a consistent care team, available through same-day appointments. The team follows up with "customers" to check on their progress with treatments and lifestyle changes.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.