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In This Issue
Guests & Visitors
Speakers At-a-Glance
Officers of the Club
President's Corner
Speaker's Corner
'Round the Room
The Four-Way Test
In everything that we think, say or do:
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Theme 2009-2010
Guests & Visitors

Our Invocation was given by Steve Ortlib

Our Visiting Rotarians included:

Dr. Steve Bethea, Buckhead Club (retired orthopedist)

Our guests included:

Charles Ballance and Joan Harrison, guests of Bill Harrison;

Wayne Ledbetter, new resident of Decatur and guest of Pete Pfeiffer
Trey Ragsdale, Greg Williams, and Wanda Johnson, guests of speaker

None made at this meeting

Speakers At-a-Glance

September 18, 2009: Mark Speece

September 25, 2009: Mark P. Becker

Officers of the Decatur Rotary Club:
President - Bryan Downs

President-Elect - C.J. Becker

Past President - Mark Hastings
Secretary - Alan Dishman

Treasurer - Jason Conn

Sergeant-at-Arms - Doug Torbush

District Governor - Roy Strickland

Decatur Rotary Spoke 'n Wheel

September 15, 2009
Despite an overcast sky the Decatur Rotary Club met in pleasant spirits this past Friday.  With a Past President presiding who was able to reminisce a bit with us about his tenure, we enjoyed a great program and good fellowship.
Brian Cayce
 President's Corner

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The  Club was honored to have Past President Fred Turner preside, who shared with us several memorable events that occurred during his tenure in 1996
Peter Andruszkiewicz, President of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

Scott Thompson introduced Peter Andruszkiewicz, who is President of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. He is responsible for the operations of the state's largest nonprofit health plan that provides comprehensive health care services to more than 265,000 members through 17 medical facilities and a network of affiliated hospitals and physicians in a 28-county service area.

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A seasoned health care executive, Mr. Andruszkiewicz joined Kaiser Permanente in 2005 as vice president, National Accounts.  In 2006, he became senior vice president of Marketing, Sales, Service and Administration for regions outside California. In that role, he was responsible for managing health plan operations and driving performance improvements in six Kaiser Permanente regions across the country serving more than 2.3 million members.
Mr. Andruszkiewicz came to Kaiser Permanente with over twenty years experience in the health care industry.  In the local community, Mr. Andruszkiewicz serves on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Children's Health Alliance and is a member of the Buckhead Coalition and the Campaign Committee for the Greater Grady Campaign.  He is a graduate of Springfield College in Massachusetts and serves on its board of trustees.  

Mr. Andruszkiewicz and his wife, Danielle, live in Atlanta with one of their four children. 

The origins of Kaiser Permanente rest in the desert of California in the 1930's, where Dr. Garfield initiated the coverage of industrial workers with one of the first prepaid health plans in the nation.  For a dime a day, workers would be covered for all their health needs. From the very beginning, the focus was upon maintaining the health of the workers instead of just treating illness.  After World War II, Mr. Kaiser, a prominent businessman, came alongside Dr. Garfield and began offering prepaid health care to the public.  Kaiser Permanente was born at that time with 10,000 members. Today, providing both health insurance and a health delivery system, Kaiser Permanente serves over 8.7 million members with 167,000 employees and 15,000 physicians.  2500 of those employees and some 300 physicians work in the state of Georgia.  According to Mr. Andruszkiewicz, Kaiser Permanente offers high quality, affordable health care while promoting health and prevention. 

As those in the health care industry have been talking about the need for reform for decades, Mr. Andruszkiewicz believes that this is the time for meaningful health care reform.  The status quo will only "get us what we have got", which is a failed system with spiraling, out of control costs and millions uninsured. By 2020, health care costs will become 20% of the gross domestic product.  Some 46 million citizens have no health insurance, half of whom could probably afford it, but opt out of prepaid system.  200 million are covered by employer and private plans. 80 million are covered by various government programs.  In the state of Georgia, twenty percent under the age of sixty five, or one in five persons, have no health insurance.  According to Mr. Andruszkiewicz, this is not simply a social, but also an economic issue.  The costs to treat the uninsured shifts to the insured, as much as $1000 per year in premiums per insured.  Also, the uninsured often do not receive the health care they need or they receive it much later than they should, after their illness has worsened, again increasing social ills and escalating costs. 

Many agree that there is common ground on the idea that there is an urgent need to reform. The question is how.

On one end of the spectrum is the single payer, government sponsored health care plan, a "Medicare for all".  This direction would unravel our current employer based system, a significant part of our economy, and could stifle competition and kill innovation. 

On the other end of the spectrum is a solely competitive system, driven by individual responsibility and consumer needs.  Our current system, which covers two-thirds with health insurance, leans in this direction, but is flawed and needs reform due to escalating costs and lack of access.

The answer, according to Mr. Andruszkiewicz, is likely a "mixed model" that expands existing government programs and revitalizes the current market based system. 

Kaiser Permanente believes that there are three keys to any reform:

Universal coverage - guarantee coverage of all, even those with pre-exisiting conditions, and mandate coverage.  All persons, even currently healthy persons, would be required to have some basic form of insurance, much like all automobiles are required to be covered by insurance.  Universal coverage spreads risk and cost across a broader population. 

Delivery system reform - The way health care is currently delivered and paid for is not a coordinated, efficient, inclusive system.  For example, because the system is fragmented, only ten percent of diabetics receive the full complement of care they need.  One of the system needs is related to the improvement of electronic data sharing between providers.

Prevention and community health - Kaiser Permanente focuses great effort in this area and is convinced that we are in need of a profound cultural shift.  True reform of our health care system will only happen when this shift occurs, but if it does, coverage for all will become more affordable.

Mr. Andruszkiewicz claims that now is the time for reform so that the quality of health care may improve and so that health care can become more accessible and affordable for all.  Something needs to be done, he claims, but there is a lot of "sausage-making" left to do in Washington, DC.

Library Book: Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis, by Lisa Sanders, MD

Report by Rev. Dr. Todd Speed
'Round the Room...

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Scott Thompson enjoys his meal with our speaker

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Past President Fred Turner paid us the honor of presiding on this momentous day

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Rotarians share their latest health care woes

The Rotary Bulletin Committee
Decatur Rotary Club