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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4 replies »

  1. I work in heathcare, have for over 30 years. Think the care is generally good out there? oh boy, are you sadly mistaken! Every patient needs an advocate in this day and age, trust me. The errors and threat to patient safety is substantial. Don Berwick had the courage to confront the issue openly. The arrogrance that is pervasive throughout the medical community slows down the movement to improve quality and patient safety. The good old boy network and them there “freedom fries” bunch of course can’t believe that we just “ain’the best” ! How on earth do some of these politicans get elected?! oh sorry I forgot, silly me, it is the insurance industry and pharmacetical industry that gets politicians elected. Guess that says it all

  2. “That Don Berwick is an internationally renowned expert in health care delivery is not in doubt.”
    Says who? The liberals trying to pimp his resume to get him in the position they want him to fill.
    For a change how about someone that actually knows how to run a multi billion dollar business and the basics of economics? Medicare has a long history of being ran by politicians and academics with no idea how real world effects decisions.
    “He is also interested in reducing costs”
    Well heck whats better then someone who has interest, why pay for someone that has actually done it when you can hire someone with interest.

  3. Do you think that this Senator will pay any attention to you, considering your credibility and evasiveness?

  4. Like your smile and tie, Dr. Levy
    Dr. Berwick crafted the IOM report, a blatant exaggeration with flawed methodology of the death causing medical mistakes. This has served as a cracked foundation to justify the deployment of flawed and defective HIT and CPOE which has not been proven to improve outcomes or reduce costs, aside from being sold in violation of Federal Law.
    Additionally, his foundation on safety flourished after his IOM report, that was well refuted, but criticism ignored by the IOM. His salary flourished as indicated by the Form 990. If his methods improve safety, why did an MGH patient die in January while his monitor was egregiously ignored?
    He is a suit. I guess that qualifies him for the job.

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