The Future of Health Care
12/10/07 7:30AM By Bob Kinzel
Most Vermonters are about to be touched by changes in the way health care comes to them, how they pay for it and how their records are kept.
Beginning Monday, Vermont Public Radio examines the
symptoms of the health care crisis and some of the possible cures.
VPR's Bob Kinzel explores Catamount Health, the state's Blueprint for Health and the impact of electronic medical records. Coverage also includes interviews and commentaries.
The Future of Health Care airs weekdays at 7:50am during Morning Edition and at 5:30pm during All Things Considered.
Monday, December 10
Catamount Health Care is the new state program to lower the number of uninsured Vermonters.
Despite previous initiatives over the past 20 years, about 65 thousand people still don't have health insurance.
If Catamount is successful, backers say it will reduce health care costs by giving these Vermonters timely care.
Tuesday, December 11
Bennington County tries to stabilize chronic care costs
Today, the largest amount of money in health care is spent on people who have chronic illnesses. Listen to this statistic: roughly 80 percent of our health care money is spent on 20 percent of all Vermonters.
In Southwestern Vermont, doctors running an innovative program are trying to stabilize the costs of chronic care.
And small hospitals are at the forefront of chronic care. VPR's Mitch Wertlieb speaks with North Country Hospital's President, Karen Weller, about the challenges facing small hospitals.
Wednesday, December 12
Over the next five years, more than half of all doctors in Vermont are expected to install electronic medical record systems in their offices.
Doctors say the new records will allow instant access to a patient's health history and help reduce medical mistakes, so the quality of care will improve.
VPR's Bob Kinzel reports on how electronic records could change future visits to your doctor.
VPR's Mitch Wertlieb speaks with Fletcher Allen Health Care's Dr. John Brumsted about the hospital's $50 million plan to use electronic records.
Thursday, December 13
When lawmakers return to Montpelier next month, they'll consider several proposals to expand state health care programs.
While previous plans have focused on uninsured Vermonters, the new efforts will target the underinsured- people who have expensive policies and huge deductibles.
And one Vermonter who knows firsthand what it's like to be underinsured is commentator, and cancer-survivor, Lenora Dowling. We'll hear her story.
Friday, December 14
VPR's Bob Kinzel speaks with Dr. Gil Welch, one of the people involved in a Dartmouth study showing there are cases where more care results in worse outcomes for some patients.
Commentator Bill Schubart has thoughts on the political will that's necessary to make significant changes to how we receive health care.