Health care, and the quality of it, has become a hot-button issue across the country. Congress is debating the right way to overhaul the system right now. The topic has drawn heat from people on all sides of the debate.
A form of that debate took place this week in Meridian. A group is trying to promote quality health care.
When we have to seek medical attention, most us want to know we are in good hands.
"Our members span healthcare, acute care, managed care," said Cathy Munn, national president. "They are nurses, health information management professionals, really any venue that deals with patient safety."
But quality healthcare goes beyond patient satisfaction and safety. Professional say it's also a matter of the bottom line. Simply put, quality healthcare is profitable and at a time when lawmakers are trying to make our national system work better, this idea may be more important than ever.
The National Association for Quality Healthcare doesn't have an official opinion on the current healthcare debate, but the association's president is watching the discussions closely.
"I will tell you that all of the legislation being introduced has some component of healthcare quality in it," said Munn. "And we are very concerned at that because we want to ensure that measures that are introduced as part of healthcare reform can truly be measured and the date can be gathered and given out in a manner that can be given back to the public. That gives an indication of the efficiency of the healthcare in the public arena."
Munn is optimistic that quality reporting will improve as facilities across the country adopt more advanced methods of reporting.
"We have data being gathered in any number of ways," said Munn. "It is our hope that as we move into the electronic age. We hope that data collection is made simpler because it does take away from the clinical practice.
And as these professionals return home, many with new certifications, the hope is that they will take this new information back to the hospitals or clinics where they work.
Officials estimate about a half million people in Mississippi are uninsured. That's about 18% of the population.
It's estimated that about 40% of those are already eligible for some kind of insurance program, but are not enrolled.