SOURCE: Medline Industries, Inc.

Medline Industries, Inc.

August 18, 2009 10:16 ET

Tom Daschle, Harvey Fineberg: Preventive Care a Crucial Piece of Healthcare Reform Debate

Speaking Before U.S. Hospital Executives, Former Senate Majority Leader Says Country Needs More Primary Care Providers to Improve Prevention Movement

MUNDELEIN, IL--(Marketwire - August 18, 2009) - Speaking yesterday in Washington, D.C., before more than 100 U.S. hospital executives from 34 states, both former senate leader Tom Daschle and the President of the Institute of Medicine Harvey Fineberg emphasized the importance of preventive care in the healthcare reform debate.

"There is a growing realization that we are losing the battle on preventive care in this country," said Daschle at a two-day conference hosted by Medline Industries, Inc. Healthcare executives from around the country are at the conference, titled "Prevention Above All," to discuss practical solutions to delivering cost-effective quality care at the same time that political representatives and communities are intensely debating the issue of healthcare reform.

In a keynote speech, Daschle cited high-cost deductibles and the declining number of primary care providers as disincentives as to why consumers are not more aggressively pursuing preventive care measures such as mammograms and physicals. Addressing this issue, Daschle suggested a stronger emphasis on primary care networks and an increased role for nurses in the prevention movement.

Although Fineberg discussed the overwhelming benefits of comparative effectiveness research (CER), chiefly providing tools that lead to affordable, effective and safe treatments, he acknowledged that "comparative effectiveness research alone will not ensure the adoption of valuable preventive care."

"We have to make it as easy and affordable as possible for both consumers and their healthcare providers to do the right thing when it comes to maintaining good health," said Fineberg. "The way you do that is for our healthcare system to create more physician and consumer incentives that encourage adoption of preventative strategies, such as lower insurance rates for nonsmokers."

Daschle, the former senator from South Dakota and author of "Critical: What We Can Do About the Healthcare Crises," addressed the fact that while he believed comprehensive change is required for our healthcare system to get on the right track, it would make strategic sense to implement the reforms incrementally.

"It makes sense that we ensure each aspect of the reform works in the way it was intended before it is rolled out nationally," he said. "Initiatives such as best practices and comparative effectiveness research allow us to make sure we are making the right decisions before we make policy or recommendations for the entire country."

About Medline Industries, Inc.

Medline, the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, manufactures and distributes more than 100,000 products to hospitals, extended-care facilities, surgery centers, home care dealers and agencies and other markets. Headquartered in Mundelein, Ill., Medline has more than 800 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.

Meeting the highest level of national and international quality standards, Medline is FDA QSR compliant and ISO 13485 registered. Medline serves on major industry quality committees to develop guidelines and standards for medical product use, including the FDA Midwest Steering Committee, AAMI Sterilization and Packaging Committee and various ASTM committees. For more information on Medline, visit our Web site, www.medline.com.

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