Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Expert Says Integration, Collaboration Needed to Fix Medicare

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Expert Says Integration, Collaboration Needed to Fix Medicare

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- The same kind of big and bold actions that created Medicare in the 1960s are needed today to fix it. Betsy W. Beckwith said at a joint conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on the Aging.

She helped write a 2003 "white paper" for the two organizations summarizing the evidence that integrating physical and mental health care and improving collaboration and coordination among various kinds of health care providers helps patients.

That document, "Medicare's Future: Integration and Coordination of Health Care Services for the Nation's Elderly." includes recommendations and could be the launching pad for fundamental changes in how we care for older citizens, she believes.

"I want to be part of a movement that will probably take 3-5 years" to produce legislation establishing a more integrated system of care for the elderly. "I know Medicare took that long to be written," said Ms. Beckwith, a health care policy consultant in Alexandria, Va., who has worked for two decades as a health care advocate.

The health care profession needs to be more coordinated, and it should "leave turf behind" to create a better, more integrated system of care, she said. …

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