Tulsan Dr. Gerry Clancy: Coverage For Uninsured A Priority

Thursday, September 10th 2009, 10:04 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

UNDATED -- An Oklahoma doctor and college dean offered his prescription for health care reform on Capitol Hill Thursday.  The head of OU's College of Community Medicine joined a panel of health experts in Washington, DC.  Dr. Gerry Clancy says the debate over health care legislation is only half the battle.

09/09/2009 Related Story: Tulsan To Serve On Washington, D.C. Health Panel

Dr. Clancy says covering the uninsured should be a priority, but he says expanding health coverage could lead to a shortage of health care.

It could happen to anyone.  Like a college-educated professional woman or a young man who has a pre-existing condition.

"I want to make sure that we don't lose sight that people who don't have health care coverage. Very bad things happen to them," said Dr. Gerry Clancy.

OU College of Community Medicine Dean Dr. Gerry Clancy took that message to Capitol Hill.  While his students and colleagues watched online, he shared his insight with a panel of national health care experts.

He told The News On 6 via satellite that it would be morally offensive not to expand coverage, but there's a cost.

"Right now we are short on the number of doctors we have across this country. We're short in Oklahoma. So, we really have to start building toward this system being able to absorb a lot more patients," said Dr. Gerry Clancy.  "It's really going to take multi-steps. We do need more doctors and many medical schools across the country are expanding."

Dr. Clancy says more doctors are needed, but so is more efficiency.

He says health information technology could reduce duplication and errors, while maximizing a doctor's time for patients.  And, when it comes to runaway health care costs, Clancy and his colleagues on the panel are pushing prevention and early intervention.

"If we catch someone in the early stage of heart disease, we can apply simple medications and simple behavior changes rather than a major cardiac surgery. So, providing care earlier in the course of a disease obviously saves money," said Dr. Gerry Clancy.

And, it could save lives.

Dr. Clancy believes health care reform will pass.  He says in the two days he's been in Washington, DC, he's heard a lot of people talking about finding common ground.

If you have questions about health care reform, email us healthcare@newson6.com.