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Restore hospitals’ continuity of care

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Murray Epstein, M.D., writes that it’s time to restore continuity of care in U.S. hospitals.

“I wish to unfurl a red flag, a challenge to the legions of bureaucrats who hover under the umbrella of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other agencies governed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Rather than focusing on electronic medical records, and expending hundreds of hours honing and refining penalties and dictums for physicians who have transgressed for slight ‘errors,’ I recommend that you expend time and energy developing a viable algorithm that is readily comprehended for ensuring continuity of clinical care.

“When a patient is asked to name his or her physician in charge, and the response is a blank stare, a deafening silence, or a long list of names, we must recognize that the patient care model currently espoused is broken, and no ACGME dictate will resolve this problem. I suggest that we reach out to the Institute of Medicine, which I regard with great esteem, to become involved and prioritize this problem as one of the key issues to solve in an accelerated timeline.”

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