Heartfelt with Dr Melissa Walton-ShirleyView all posts »
President to visit Cleveland Clinic: Too bad Billy Mays isn't still aroundJul 23, 2009 06:29 EDT
I listened to President Obama’s speech/Press conference last evening. I even took notes. My synopsis is that he is sincere in his desire to reduce health care spending and improve access, but I didn’t hear any specifics on big ticket items that are actually going to get the job done. We can all detect the sense of urgency in his message, but I fear the infrastructure being built into his plan will just spell more bureaucracy. Any time a “panel” is convened to do anything, you can always look forward to more discussion, more delays, personal agendas, etc.
When the president visits the Cleveland Clinic today, I hope that someone–anyone–will talk with him about the practical and inexpensive changes that MUST occur in this country in order to impact health care spending. I have no idea of the goal or the itinerary for this visit, but he mentioned last evening that he views “the clinic” as a “model”. I wonder if the “model” that works in Cleveland will work in places like rural and urban America where the greatest majority of heart attack patients present. I hope someone there will keep us in mind. I wish someone at the Clinic would try to sell a few items to the President with the same enthusiasm and urgency that Billy Mays used to sell millions of dollars worth of OxyClean. It’s going to take that type of approach to move this mountain. If he could have been my pitchman, here is what I’d have asked him to say:
- Mr. President, look at what is killing our population and tackle it at the root cause. CHF: we need timely AMI care. Map the nation. Plot the shortest distance between heart attack presentation and a PCI. Promote PCI without surgery on site. Promote timely PCI. Period. In Kentucky and 12 other states, we’ve been subjected to a waiting period of Biblical proportion when it comes to advancing our PCI program to include the non-STEMI patients with ACS. We transfer patients daily at a cost of 700 – 10,000 dollars/ day UNNECESSARILY from our small facility alone . Timeliness of AMI care is still a HUGE problem in every state. Change the way we do business for our heart attack patients and the savings will be immediate and long standing. Tie it to reimbursement for real, not just on paper.
- Mr. President, you have admitted a personal struggle with nicotine addiction. Why not champion, even INSIST, that EVERY STATE IN THE NATION pass legislation that guarantees a smoke- free workplace for every citizen? Why not STOP minting new teen addicts daily that spell more procedures, testing, lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease in the not too distant future??? States are spending BILLIONS per year unnecessarily on preventable illness. PUT A STOP TO IT NOW!!!!
- Tort Reform. Champion it so physicians can afford to practice in their home towns without having to flee to areas of higher moral ground in order to practice good medicine without fear of frivolous suits. Keep us at home and you will improve the access situation that you so obviously understand is in crisis. Help us put a stop to the “unnecessary testing” that you mentioned several times last evening FOR REAL.
Now Cleveland Clinic physicians, this paragraph must be delivered with the same lilt and verve that Billy Mays would have utilized to drive the point home: Let’s practice: Pretend you are looking into the camera (but instead, look intently into the President’s eyes) and yell the words: INSTANT CASH!!! Then jump right into the message by utilizing pressured speech. Get those neck veins engorged, invade his body space just a little, (but not enough to get tackled by the secret service ) wave your hands just a bit, then start by saying, "Billy Mays" style…….."Hi Mr. President……The Cleveland Clinic here…….and boy do I have a deal for you!”
Then get right into the message.
“Utilize the immediate decrease in spending after the above measures are implemented to FUND PREVENTION PROGRAMS!!!. (Say: INSTANT CASH!!!) In Lexington Kentucky, in just a few months following the public smoking ban, ER visits for asthma patients dropped dramatically. (Yell it…. Instant CASH!!!) After the smoking ban in Helena Montana, MI rates fell dramatically in the first 6 months, (Yell like a crazy person: Instant CASH!). When we start providing PCI for AMI without surgery onsite we will find: (scream it: INSTANT CASH!!!) Map the country like they did in the Czech Republic for strategizing AMI care. (for the love our country...shriek: INSTANT CASH!!!) Timely AMI care equals reduced spending for device implants, recurrent CHF admissions, and decreased stroke rates! (Yell it like you mean it!: INSTANT CASH!!). Malpractice reform spells more physicians for areas like Florida and Mississippi….. and better access spells timely treatment and INSTANT CASH!!!!
I mourned the death of Billy Mays, the high pressure sales pitchman of the airways. His method of message delivery was a bit annoying but no one could argue his effectiveness. I only hope that during President Obama’s visit to “the Clinic”, someone will talk with the president with the same enthusiasm as the late Mr. Mays would have done. In 60 seconds, he could have changed the country forever. ……. Maybe someone at the Cleveland Clinic today still can.