Online Symposium: The Fragmentation of the U.S. Health Care System: Causes and Solutions

The Fragmentation of the U.S. Health Care System: Causes and SolutionsThis week, the Concurring Opinions blog is hosting an online symposium on Professor Einer Elhague’s new book, The Fragmentation of the U.S. Health Care System: Causes and Solutions.

Below is the announcement by Professor Glenn Cohen:

I am pleased to announce that in a collaboration between the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, and Concurring Opinions, Frank Pasquale and I are organizing an online symposium on this blog (beginning on Monday) on the new book The Fragmentation of U.S. Health Care System: Causes and Solutions. This book, which grew out of a conference the Petrie-Flom center hosted in 2008 was edited by Einer Elhauge and features a stellar list of contributors from law, economics, medicine, management, and other disciplines.

Here is a description of the symposium on the book and the list of participants:

Why is our health care system so fragmented in the care it gives patients? Why is there little coordination amongst the many doctors who treat individual patients, who often even lack access to a common set of medical records? Why is fragmentation a problem even within a single hospital, where errors or miscommunications often seem to result from poor coordination amongst the myriad of professionals treating any one individual patient? Why is health care fragmented both over time, so that too little is spent on preventive care, and across patients, so that resources are often misallocated to the patients who need it least? This book approaches these broad questions with a highly interdisciplinary approach, including chapters by the nation’s leading professors in law, medicine, economics, health, business, and political science.

Professor Elhauge and the contributors provide a multifaceted approach to these multi-dimensional problems. The divergent perspectives and approaches of the contributors provide the reader with an understanding of the intricacies of the system and proposed solutions. The articles address possible causes of fragmentation, including laws that mandate separate payments for each provider, restrict hospitals or others from controlling or rewarding the set of providers treating a patient to assure coordinated care, and provide affirmative disincentives for coordinating care by paying more for uncoordinated care that requires more services. The authors examine and propose reforms that could make our health care system less fragmented, more efficient, and more effective.

This symposium examines the themes and claims of the book, and in particular examines their relevance in the post health care reform world.

The participants will be

John Jacobi
Anup Malani
Abigail Moncrieff
Gwendolyn Roberts Majette
Ani Satz
Richard Saver
Elizabeth Weeks
Vickie J. Williams

Sign up for an RSS feed to follow the symposium.

Members of the Harvard community can check out a copy of the book or view it online (Harvard PIN required). A chapter “Why We Should Care About Health Care Fragmentation and How to Fix it” is also available on SSRN. Also, check out this video of a Q & A with Professor Elhauge from earlier in the year.

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