John Prunskis, MD, FIPP, medical director of the Illinois Pain Institute based in the Chicago area, met with President Barack Obama's Senior Advisor Valerie Jarett and her staff in the West Wing of the White House on Jan. 4 ahead of an anticipated advisory role with the upcoming administration.
Ms. Jarrett and her staff were among the architects of the Affordable Care Act and during their discussion Ms. Jarrett imparted several key thoughts on healthcare.
"We discussed what they were really trying to achieve with the ACA, where they succeeded and where they didn't have as much success as they wanted," said Dr. Prunskis. "It was a very productive meeting."
Dr. Prunskis was able to glean a detailed background of the ACA and he exchanged ideas with Ms. Jarett and her senior health advisor about several topics, including:
• ACA strengths and weaknesses
• Disparity in reimbursement for site of service for identical medical and surgical services
• Financial burdens placed on employees from high deductibles and employers from higher premiums
• Hospitals acquiring medical practices
• Burden of EMRs
• Adult stem cell research
• Evolution of value based care
• Importance of retaining coverage for pre-existing conditions and preventative care
• Prescription opiate narcotic usage reduction
• Potential effects of insurance company competition across state lines
"I left our meeting feeling more strongly than ever that private practice physicians must be included in development of changes in our nation's healthcare policy and be patient advocates to increase access to care," said Dr. Prunskis. "Additionally, the pressures healthcare lobbying groups place on Congress and Senators may be an obstacle to meaningful improvement in our healthcare delivery system."
In his upcoming role with the new administration, Dr. Prunskis hopes to further explore the issues he discussed with Ms. Jarrett.
"Appointed and elected officials are preoccupied with so many different issues that is important for them to have input from physicians in private practice to help them not only get the big picture but also be explained the details only such a physician might see," said Dr. Prunskis.