April 1996 Bulletin

Seven national societies tell concerns on health care

The President's Council of seven national orthopaedic associations, representing more than 26,000 members, is concerned about the potentially detrimental effect on the quality of patient care resulting from rapidly occurring changes in health care delivery.

A statement, "Health Care Reform Concerns," was signed by presidents of the Academy, American Orthopaedic Association, Australian Orthopaedic Association, British Orthopaedic Association, Canadian Orthopaedic Association, New Zealand Orthopaedic Association, and South African Orthopaedic Association. The statement is:

"We are particularly troubled by the cost-driven tendency for managed care systems and government health plans to deny timely, affordable patient access to specialty care services. We believe that all existing and evolving health care plans should allow their members free choice of physicians by providing them with an affordable option to select specialists outside that plan.

"Further, we are concerned about the increasing tendency to deny coverage for some services which are essential to the delivery of high quality medical or surgical care. While we share a commitment to the responsible control of health care costs, we would not like to see patient care compromised by systems which emphasize cost reduction with little or no concern for maintaining the quality of care that has resulted from the tremendous advances in medical knowledge and technology that are occurring worldwide.

"We believe that all health care plans should be both affordable and responsible with regard to the utilization of services. They must, however, preserve timely access to the specialists of patients' choosing and ensure the availability of those services necessary for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment."

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