An Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown

Paul Levy Star

Dear Scott,

I understand the Senate confirmation process in Washington, DC, and how the appointment of individuals
gets hung up for a variety of political reasons. I don’t particularly like it, but I understand it.

But I don’t understand how with regard to the appointment of Don Berwick as head of CMS, the Medicare agency, this can be the case, asĀ reported recently in the Boston Globe:

Senator Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican, has not decided how he will vote, a spokesman said.

That Don Berwick is an internationally renowned expert in health care delivery is not in doubt. That he is an honest, hard-working, and thoughtful person is also clear to the thousands of people in the health care professions with whom he has worked. That his primary focus has always been on reducing harm and medical errors is likewise the case. He is also interested in reducing costs in the health care delivery system when such costs represent waste and inefficiency.

Scott, the issue here is not whether the recently passed health care bill was right or wrong for the country. I respect your opinion on that matter. But that vote has been taken.

The issue here is whether you want someone who knows enough about the delivery of health care, whose passion is making that safer for patients, to be in charge of the agency that potentially has the largest single impact on that goal.

As a State Senator, you were always incredibly supportive of us at BID~Needham Hospital in our desire to offer safe and efficient health care to your constituents. Please know that Don Berwick and the people working with him at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement taught us how to do that.

Please don’t stand by as his appointment is delayed. Please talk to your colleagues and help Dr. Berwick be confirmed as head of CMS.

With warm personal regards,


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