03:40 AM

​University medical leaders join congressional roundtable to discuss effort to improve patient care

Doctors from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center joined health leaders from across the region Thursday to talk about ways to cut red tape and help put more attention on patients.

Dr. Michael Caligiuri, CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, joined leadership from the colleges of Social Work, Dentistry and Pharmacy at a meeting focusing on ways area doctors and hospitals can improve care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Central Ohio Congressman Pat Tiberi hosted the event. He is leading an effort in Washington, D.C., to understand if outdated rules and regulations are hampering health care.

“There are wasteful things that were meaningful at some point but in real life and in real medical practice just add cost to the system instead of saving cost,” said Dr. Andrew Thomas, chief medical officer for Wexner Medical Center.

Thomas said the concerns cut across the health care field. Leadership from the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging, OhioHealth and Mount Carmel also participated in the conversation.

Thomas said there was widespread agreement. “(We) are all really singing the same song to the congressman: focusing on reducing burdensome regulations, focusing on simplifying payment policies and making sure Medicare patients and Medicaid patients are getting access to the quality health care we want to provide to them,” he said.

”We heard it today that if there are certain doctors who are spending time providing documentation that is duplicative and they don’t have to do that, they can spend more time with the patient,” Tiberi said. “So it’s not just about saving money, it’s not just about time, it’s about how can you deal with a patient more comprehensively than you otherwise would.”

Tiberi serves as the chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in Congress. The roundtable was designed to learn more about policies that improve health care and the policies that might stand in the way. Similar events are being held across the country before Congress considers any legislative action.

Dr. Michael Caligiuri, Rep. Patrick Tiberi and Pres. Michael V. Drake

“People talk about waste fraud and abuse in the system and sometimes those regulations, even though they are well meaning, really end up being a burden to the system and adding more costs,” Thomas said.

President Michael V. Drake and Caligiuri also presented Tiberi with the 2017 Congressional Champion Award from the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers for his support for medical centers dedicated to fighting cancer.

Drake said he was recently speaking in Washington, D.C., about finding the right balance with regulations.

“We are thinking about ways where the government might work more efficiently to help the interface between the government and the citizens, regardless of politics, so we can get the outcomes we want,” he said.