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Introduction Marion Ein Lewin It is a great pleasure and delight to introduce tonight's distinguished speakers. But they really need no formal introduction. This good crowd, despite the rain and during a week that Congress is out of session, is a testament to their reputations and name recognition. I know very few people in the world of health care who are so uni- formly admired as Don Berwick. As president and CEO of the Institute for Health Care Improvement in Boston, Don and his colleagues are at the vanguard of developing new paradigms for quality improvement. Those of you who have heard Don speak know that his presentations are nothing less than inspiring in offering a creative and substantive frame- work for improving the American health care delivery system in all of its quality dimensions. I can give personal testimony that Don's words and ideas inspire and have an impact. A few months ago, my husband, Larry Lewin, came home very late one evening from a meeting in California, where Don had deliv- ered the keynote address on quality improvement, entitled "Escape Fire." Larry woke me up at two in the morning to rave about the speech and was disappointed that I did not want to listen to the tape right at that moment. It was an amazing tape. I did listen to it the next day, a tape that Larry has since distributed far and wide, almost as much as Girl Scout cookies. I am sure you will hear some of the themes that Don addressed in that speech this evening. Allen Feezor, health benefits administrator for the California Public Employees Retirement System, calPERS, is one of my favorite people in 5
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6 CROSSING THE QUALITY CHASM the health care field. We are enormously pleased he could be here this evening to provide responding remarks to Don's presentation. Allen has served on several Institute of Medicine committees and is a highly re- spected expert on insurance, health benefits, and health care financing. Allen happened to call me the day Don agreed to give the Rosenthal Lec- ture. Allen was calling to find out how he could get a speaker on the medical errors study for an upcoming calPERS board meeting. He then proceeded to tell me about the ongoing changes and challenges of the California health care marketplace. When we spoke, Allen was in the midst of negotiating new contracts and trying to purchase quality-effec- tive health benefits for over one million public employees. I thought that his on-the-ground experience would be a terrific complement to Don's remarks. I got lucky and was able to strike a deal. With the help of lanes Corrigan, we got Allen a speaker and, in exchange, he agreed to come to Washington for this Rosenthal event.