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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute think tank, told The Guardian on Wednesday that "unfortunately, it's not surprising that millions of Americans can't afford healthcare." "It is, however, shocking and kind of outrageous," Saini added. "Our system has been structured for many years on the basis of private health plans and very deep dysfunction politically and within the medical industry. Americans have been facing this mammoth problem. It was there during, and looks like it's going to be after, the pandemic...  Americans want, and need I'd say, a radically better healthcare system." More

Nearly 46m Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare in an emergency

“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that millions of Americans can’t afford healthcare,” said Dr Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a think tank whose advocacy work has examined how high prices on insulin have led to rationing and even death among diabetics. “It is, however, shocking and kind of outrageous, but not surprising.”

“Our system has been structured for many years on the basis of private health plans and very deep dysfunction politically and within the medical industry,” said Saini.

“Americans have been facing this mammoth problem. It was there during, and looks like it’s going to be after, the pandemic,” said Saini, about the report. “But it also shows … Americans want, and need I’d say, a radically better healthcare system.” More

Addressing Workforce Diversity — A Quality-Improvement Framework

The Lown Institute’s recent national ranking of hospitals based on civic leadership, value of care, and patient outcomes stirred discussion because of its emphasis on care for the community and its stark contrast with the U.S. News and World Report rankings. No such ranking system exists for issues related to workforce diversity, although there are opportunities to establish stand-alone listings or to integrate this dimension into current ranking methods. Although legal obstacles around reporting of workforce diversity data are unclear — particularly if this reporting attracts attention to institutions with low diversity — similar, if not more detailed, information is already openly available for many public hospital systems whose state laws mandate reporting of all state employee salaries. More

‘It was nuts. It was exhilarating’: How a punishing year transformed Mayo Clinic

This echoes a national trend healthcare institutions have seen this year, said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan healthcare-focused think tank.

“When you get this type of a massive crisis, quite often, the old kind of leadership models and chains of command have to get disrupted. Because if you have to move quickly, there's a lot of native intelligence in the rank and file or on the front lines,” Saini said. “Crises like this kind of allow some of that knowledge, which is practical knowledge, to be made available.”

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Obituary: Bernard Lown

“Bernard's achievements and example are really hard for any of us to meet, but that example inspires so many people to recognise what is possible,” said Vikas Saini, the President of the Lown Institute, in Boston, MA, USA. “His mantra was always: We need to take collective action. What are you doing with others to change things for the better?” “At the core of the mission was the belief that a holistic approach that incorporated the physician's presence, attention, and deep engagement with the entirety of the patient's lived experience was absolutely essential to heal patients,” Saini said. “Technology always came second. In later years we would adopt a motto reflecting this philosophy: “Do as much as possible for the patient and as little as possible to the patient.” “He showed all of us who are clinicians what it meant to be a healer and a citizen of the world,” Saini said. “He believed that medicine must exist beyond the clinic to be true to its highest calling. That came from his unwavering moral commitment to social justice and the radically better system of health that we must create to achieve it.” More

Remembering Bernard Lown: physician, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner

I have long thought that there are three types of physician. The first is fascinated by the intricacy and complexity of biomedical science. The second finds inspiration in the personal relationship between doctor and patient. The third is committed to the broader context of health, to social justice and to making the world a better place. These three groups have boundaries that are necessarily fuzzy, and many doctors belong to one or two of them. Very few belong unequivocally in all three. Bernard Lown, who died recently at age 99, was one of these. More

A Tribute to Bernard Lown

Lown touched my life through the Right Care Alliance—a sister organization of the Lown Institute. For a slow-adopting, skeptical medical conservative, the annual Lown meeting was nirvana. Lown meetings were the opposite of cardiology meetings. Cardiology conferences celebrate the science, congratulate the scientists, and promote the latest technology. Lown meetings tackled what is wrong with medicine: overdiagnosis, overtreatment, fractured specialty-centric care, biased evidence, and the crisis in end-of-life care. An invite to speak at Lown transformed my life. I couldn't believe this many people thought exactly as I do. I met clinicians, editors-in-chief, and researchers who study the state of medical evidence. My modest foray into academic work traces back to the connections I made. I now realize this was by design. Lown knew that bringing like-minded people together was vital. If somebody takes the initiative, others will see it and follow. A movement grows, then change happens. More

Dr. Bernard Lown, creator of 1st effective heart defibrillator, dies at 99

Bernard Lown, MD, a renowned cardiologist who played a pivotal role in the development of the first reliable heart defibrillator, died Feb. 16. "Bernard Lown was one of the greatest physicians of the last, or any century, and I was privileged to call him my teacher, colleague and friend," said Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that advocates for civic leadership and accountability in healthcare founded by Dr. Lown in 1973. "He showed us what it meant to be a healer and a citizen of the world. His commitment to social justice and a radically better healthcare system illuminated his belief that medicine must exist beyond the clinic to be true to its highest calling." More