Editor's Note


Editor's Note

Exploring Collaborative Health Care

By Rich Simon

May/June 2007


When even Republicans are earnestly discussing what to do about the "health care crisis" and corporate executives can utter the once-taboo words "universal health care" without reflexively crossing themselves as if warding off a vampire, you know something new is afoot in the American zeitgeist. It may not be too much to hope that, as a society, we're actually on the verge of overhauling our anachronistic and wildly overpriced health care system for something better. (Then again, we may not be—remember 1994 and "Harry and Louise," a fake couple in a TV ad paid for the insurance companies that helped destroy the Clinton health care plan?)

If this revolution does actually happen this time, it will not only transform the way medical care is paid for and who gets it (presumably everybody in America, by virtue of being human), but how it's organized and delivered. Instead of the fragmented medical care mishmash we now have, we're likely to see a far more integrated approach—what's been called a kind of one-stop-shopping health care system, which would combine physical, rehabilitative, and mental health care within a single, rationally organized, coherent, customer-friendly package. I always envision this system as something like the bar on the TV show Cheers—a friendly place where everybody (doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, nutritionists, psychotherapists) not only knows who you are, but just as important, knows and can work with all the other providers…

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