Notes of gratitude for the service of Don Berwick are pouring out in the health care world. Dr. Berwick, former head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services until last Friday, is a long-time friend of Health Care For All and helped advise our Consumer Health Quality Council. John McDonough’s appreciation, Why Berwick Matters, provides a good overview of his singular role in promoting a patient-centered health care system.
Dr. Berwick is one of the foremost experts on patient safety and quality improvement in health care. The nation was fortunate to have his services as the head of CMS even for the short tenure of 17 months (he was appointed by President Obama during a recess and stepped down last week because Republicans made it clear he would not be confirmed for the position).
Berwick gave an interview to the NY Times on his last day at CMS. In the interview he talks about areas where there is waste in the health care system, such as overtreatment and lack of care coordination. He talks about some of the frustrations and challenges of trying to make change through government service but also his optimism for the future of the health care system. Thank you to Dr. Berwick for his leadership over the past 1½ years. We look forward to seeing what he will do next.