[UPDATE: This event has now concluded, check back with WhiteHouse.gov for similar events in the future.]
Since the White House Forum on Health Reform way back in the beginning of March, the White House has been bringing working Americans and health care leaders into the process. There have been regional forums across the country, and the White House has held "Stakeholder Discussions" here in the White House on a broad variety of topics. Every one of those meetings has been streamed live in line with the President’s commitment to transparency.
We are going to experiment with something different around this afternoon’s Stakeholder Meeting with Physicians, which will have a particular focus on prevention and wellness. Over at Facebook we have a unique application that will embed our live stream and allow you to comment, question, and chat about the meeting. An aide from the White House Office of Health Reform will also be keeping track of the chat and letting the participants in the meeting know what people are talking about. Alternatively, you can of course watch the meeting on our site, and we will have a comment form you can use to let us know your thoughts and questions that way too..
UPDATE: Rebecca Adelman of HHS is also at the meeting, and is helping us keep a written record:
Zeke Emanuel is wrapping up the meeting now. Jennifer Cannistra just announced to the group that we received over 1,000 comments on Facebook and through WhiteHouse.gov during this meeting. She closes with a comment from Facebook on the obstacle poverty can be to focusing on prevention and wellness for your family, and ties the comment to initiatives in the President's "United We Serve" program and Serve.gov
4:05: Dr. Alice Chen, Executive Director of Doctors for America, is reading from a sizable binder full of comments sent to her from physicians across the country. One physician told her, "the best prevention is providing people with health insurance."
4:00: We are now hearing final comments from each physician to close the meeting. Notably, one doctor is saying we can talk about health care reform and prevention until we are blue in the face, but we won't have the primary care workforce we need to truly change the system unless we talk about medical education and changing the incentives that deter many new doctors from entering the primary care field.
3:41: Dr. Vivek Murthy, President and Co-founder of Doctors for America, is urging that medical education be changed so that medical students are trained in prevention. During his time in medical school, he says he spent six weeks on cell biology, but the only training offered for preventative care came in the form of an evening, optional, elective which he says was sparsely attended. "That culture has to change," he said.
3:35: Dr. Omega C. Logan Silva is suggesting that the only way to treat obesity is to prevent obesity. Her idea is to enlist the support of retired physicians to speak directly to young children to educate them about nutrition and health with the eventual goal of changing national attitudes about food.
3:25: Reversing obesity trends is a critical focus of many of the physicians in the room. Some are suggesting mandatory physical education and nutritional education be implemented in schools, and one expert on the subject here is Secretary Joe Thompson from Arkansas who has been collecting Body Mass Index information in his state for six years and has engaged in an effort to make Health part of every policy decision in the state. Secretary Thompson says "we did everything we could think of" to curb obesity trends, including changing the foods served in cafeterias, increasing physical and nutritional education, and he says he believes they have halted the increase in obesity in his state.
3:00: Leading the discussion today along side Mike Hash is Dr. Dora Hughes from HHS, Dr. Bob Kocher and Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Dr. Kavita Patel, and HHS's Dr. Meena Seshamani. Zeke Emanuel is asking the physicians for "actionable ideas" as we now are in the thick of health care reform. One physician answers the first question from Facebook by suggesting employers allot a certain number of hours for regular preventative check-ups.
2:50: Jennifer Cannistra from the Office of Health Reform reads the first question submitted on Facebook: for those people working 12-14 hours a day, how can we make it easier to focus on prevention?
We're just kicking off the third physicians stakeholders discussion in the Old Executive Office Building. Mike Hash from the White House Office of Health Reform is welcoming both the group of 25 doctors present in the room and the viewers watching this discussion streamed online. During today's discussion we will take questions submitted on www.facebook.com
to involve even more people in the conversation. For this third stakeholder discussion with physicians, the plan is to focus the conversation on how to use prevention and wellness initiatives to cut health care costs and improve quality of care.