A seat at the table

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk healthcare with presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as he was visiting his hometown of Medford. We sat in a local Medford diner with Dr. Ashish Jha, faculty director of the Global Health Institute at the Harvard School of Public Health, and some of MelroseWakefield Healthcare’s community physicians and patients.

MelroseWakefield Healthcare physicians and patients joined me in meeting with Harvard School of Public Health policy thought leader Dr. Ashish Jha (left) and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg (center) to discuss community healthcare.

Our patients spoke passionately about their own healthcare challenges and ideas about healthcare costs and access. They described real-life choices they are compelled to make between paying bills and buying the prescriptions they need to fight chronic ailments. They discussed the fears they have of a catastrophic illness bankrupting them because of inadequate insurance coverage and high deductibles.  

Our physicians talked about the time and effort it takes to navigate the US healthcare system for their patients and to connect them to the best local services to keep them healthy. They talked about some of the absurdities they face when explaining to insurance companies why they need to cover the cost of their patients’ necessary treatments and medications.

Great community care

 As a healthcare system, we know of these challenges all too well. That is why I am passionate about transforming community healthcare by finding new and collaborative ways to keep healthcare local and less costly. Too often, in our state, healthcare is focused on driving resources to the large, academic medical centers when it is not always necessary or appropriate for the patient.  I was happy to have been among these thought leaders, explaining  how we, at MelroseWakefield Healthcare locally provide the same level of quality care and expertise at significantly less cost while not burdening patients with unnecessary costs and time for standard procedures and tests.

MelroseWakefield Healthcare is not the biggest health system in the area, but we are certainly not afraid to be the boldest when it comes to doing what is right for our patients!

That is why we offer comprehensive surgery services including advanced robotic surgery in the community and why we offer expert back, neck and spine neurosurgery along with orthopedic surgery in the community. It is why we offer the newest labor and delivery suites in the area. It is why we collaborate with Tufts Medical Center to have leading heart care and cancer care available in the community with top specialists. It is why our network of community primary care providers is committed to offering same day/next day appointments. It is why we are building-a-state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford to bring greater flexibility and quality at lower cost for patients.

I don’t believe that the entire healthcare system in the US is broken. I see amazing things happen everyday thanks to the people, technology and innovation that have thrived in modern medicine. But there is still much that we can fix. We want to work with our elected leaders, the insurance industry and patients to affect change to make great care affordable and accessible.

Happy New Year

I also want to take a moment to wish you all a very happy, safe and healthy new year, with a special nod to all of the very special people who work for MelroseWakefield Healthcare bringing the very best care to our patients.

Sue

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