When access to care and population health of a distressed community are on the line, urban hospitals like BMC can and should look outside of traditional negotiation tactics to fulfill their role in serving their community. If they do not, we may not have the ERs to meet the newly insured population.
Where our patients sometimes live in darkness, squalor, danger and hunger, whether run-down trailer, homeless tent or government project, the emergency departments are different. They are places of bright lights and warmth, safety and relief; where beds are clean and food is available. And if nothing else, places where there are people who are interested and polite.
Now is the time for medical communities everywhere to examine existing processes critically, pursue thoughtful advances in how we deliver care, and promote a culture that engages staff in the improvement process. Taking care of patients is not only about the therapies we provide but also having the most effective care delivery systems possible. By that metric, American health care still has significant room to grow.