Cincinnati—Peter Embi, MD, is one of roughly 150 doctors in the United States who has been asked to participate in a special health care reform meeting today in Washington, D.C.
Embi, an associate professor of medicine and informatics director at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, along with the other select physicians from around the country, will meet with President Barack Obama in the White House Rose Garden Monday to discuss health reform in America.
“I am honored to have this opportunity,” Embi says. “At a time when health care reform is so close to becoming a reality, I feel privileged to participate in an event that impacts this important issue.”
“Our current health care system just isn’t working for many patients,” he continues. “Far too many are uninsured or underinsured and that results in people frequently going without adequate health care.”
Embi, a rheumatologist, regularly cares for patients with arthritis and other diseases of the immune system at UC and at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, a UC affiliate.
“Many of my patients with chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis benefit greatly from treatments that we have today," he says. "When I treat veterans, I know I can get them the treatments they need without concern that they won’t be able to afford it because the VA covers their care. Unfortunately in other practice settings, my colleagues and I often see patients, even those with health insurance, who can’t get certain tests or treatments they need just because they can’t afford high co-pays that for certain drugs can amount to thousands of dollars a year.
“To see someone’s severe arthritis flare back up just because they can’t afford a treatment that was working for them is tragic and shouldn’t be allowed. That’s one of the many things that we need to change.”
In addition to being a practicing physician, Embi is also an expert in health informatics and says health information technology is one of the key elements to improving the health care system.
“Accelerating the adoption and optimal use of Health IT is a critical part of making our health care system efficient and effective,” he says. “Good information is what physicians and patients need to make good decisions. Without it and the systems that support it, doctors are less efficient at best, and can make bad decisions at worst.”
Embi says he is passionate about his work to advance the field of health informatics.
“My colleagues and I are working to improve the use of electronic health record systems to advance patient care, public health and medical science," he says.
Embi says he looks forward to taking part in this meeting at the White House that will allow physicians to voice their support for needed reforms to the health care system.
”Even though there are many details to sort out, and we probably won’t get everything perfect this time through, it’s so important that we’re moving forward,” he says. “I am very hopeful that we will be able to succeed this year in getting real reform to happen.”
Embi is the founding director of the UC Center for Health Informatics where he and his colleagues work to optimize the use of Health Information Technology, including electronic health records, to improve health care and accelerate medical advances.