October 2002 Bulletin

AAOS Secretary attends President’s Economic Forum

By E. Anthony Rankin, MD

The business part of the day began with the panels held at Baylor University, the site of the entire Forum. My panel, which was led by DHHS Secretary Tommy Thompson was entitled "Health Care Security." I was introduced to Secretary Thompson before the panel convened and had the opportunity to speak with him briefly.

Our panel was quite large, with 31 participants, but the Secretary made certain that each individual got the opportunity to speak. Secretary Thompson opened the session by stating that Economic Security depends on Health Care Security.  The areas of concern that he addressed were the rising costs of care, affordable drugs, increasing the quality of care, reducing the unnecessary burden of providing care and the liability insurance crisis. All participating physicians addressed the medical liability insurance crisis. The Secretary has this concern high on his agenda.

The opportunity for networking was good. I met a number of fellow panelists and was able to speak with all of the physicians. The medical liability insurance crisis is at the top of their lists, and all see it as a patient access to care issue.

The luncheon, which culminated the event, allowed further ability to network but more importantly allowed an exceptional opportunity to meet and speak directly with President Bush. He was most gracious in giving his time and attention to all participants, and there was no suggestion that there was anything more important than his being there and hearing our concerns.

When I shook his hand and introduced myself, he said, "Oh, you’re an orthopod!" He then looked me straight in the eye and said, "I’m serious about doing something about this medical liability insurance problem."

I think this was a great chance for our Academy to be at the table and I am grateful for the privilege of being the one to represent the AAOS on this extraordinary occasion.

E. Anthony Rankin, MD, is secretary of the AAOS Board of Directors. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the AAOS Bulletin.

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