In the News

Fed Up, Doctors Take Health Care Overuse Campaign to the Street

By Cheryl Clark
March 12, 2015
HealthLeaders Media

Frustrated by a health care system they desperately want to change, physicians and quality care advocates want to use counter-culture tactics to raise interest in reducing overutilization and misuse.

It’s not that far a stretch to call the Boston-based Lown Institute’s burgeoning “Right Care, Right Now” movement a kind of 60s-style medico-political protest march against health care overutilization and misuse.

It certainly has attracted a lot of big-name articulate, outspoken clinicians: Los Angeles County health director Mitch Katz, Mt. Sinai palliative care guru Diane Meier, Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen, quality measurement expert Harlan Krumholz, and the American College of Physician’s CEO Steven Weinberger are among those leading the way.

Indeed, during the group’s three-day conference in San Diego this week, the keynote talks were speckled with these phrases:

  • Health care industry “greed”
  • “A new counter culture movement”
  • “Toxic hierarchy”
  • “Medical industrial complex”
  • “Perverse incentives”

These distinguished physicians say they’ve become intolerably frustrated by a system they are part of, but desperately want to change.

A Tattooed Barcode
Of the 300 attendees, some 60 are respected patient advocates courageous enough to tell their stories of horror. One such person is Casey Quinlan, a podcast producer for the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Hospitalist Magazine and a breast cancer patient so fed up with provider miscommunication and her inability to access her medical records, that she had a 3″ bar code tattooed just below her neck. It links to her advance directive paperwork.

In the hallways, I noted burgeoning anger.


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