W. Douglas Weaver, MD, FACC, division head of cardiovascular medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, was named acting American College of Cardiology (ACC) president during a ceremony on Monday.
Weaver began his acceptance speech by commending his predecessor for “positioning the college out in front…We must ensure that the college remains a central force in shaping the current debates around health system reform.”
Weaver said healthcare costs are unsustainable, despite the technological innovations and treatment advancements. “We have been working harder, seeing more patients, providing newer and more testing and treatment options. This just simply cannot continue. We now have to focus on value," he said.
Over the next year in office, Weaver said he will push for national healthcare reform as a solution to rising costs. By 2010, healthcare is projected to cost $2.7 trillion, a 30 percent increase from 2004.
“The increased cost of health care will soon result in health care becoming unaffordable for the lower middle class. It could reduce the standard of living for retirees and reduce state spending for education in order for states to keep up with the rising costs of state health and pension benefits,” he said.
Improving patient quality and safety and increasing the value of medical care is crucial to reforming health care in the United States, which spends an estimated $500 billion more annually than other industrialized countries, Weaver said.
At the conference, the college acknowledged this thrust towards understanding quality and revenue through its new educational program, “Practice Innovation: Driving Revenue, Quality and Value.” The sessions focused on translating science into practice, but also on the recommendations for the current U.S. healthcare system, in light of the current political and social implications, as well as the registries and guidelines.