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Political, market solutions needed to fix health care

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By Sherry Robinson

Martin Hickey has been around the quadrangle in healthcare, working in public institutions (Indian Health Service and the VA) and private.
He’s best known here as former CEO of Lovelace Health Systems, although he worked outside the state for three other companies.
Now he runs New Mexico Health Connections, a nonprofit health insurance cooperative founded in response to the Affordable Care Act.
In a talk before New Mexico Press Women last week, Hickey was frank about doctors, hospitals, and the healthcare system.
“Money has rained down on top of it,” he said, referring to healthcare, and yet outcomes are worse than cheaper systems in other industrial nations. We don’t have real competition between doctors or hospitals, and hospitals are money machines.
A physician, Hickey said he took his last exam in 1981, but he can still hang out a shingle anywhere. You may like your doctor, but you really don’t know how skilled he or she is because they’re never measured.
Some healthcare organizations have gotten better at measuring doctors, but the only people who know the results are other doctors, so “you have physicians working with other physicians, and most of the high-cost doctors will get better or leave.” Still, he thinks all doctors should undergo a yearly simulator test.


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