Thursday, April 22, 2010

VNA of Boston Hospice Medical Director Meets President Obama

Reprinted from a VNA Hospice Care communication:

VNA Hospice Care's Medical Director, Dr. James L. Baker, recently met President Barack Obama. He joined Governor Deval Patrick, Vicki Kennedy, and several other dignitaries at the April 1st invitation only event at the Opera House during the President's visit to Boston.  Dr. Baker said that "It was an honor to have this opportunity to meet with key leaders of the Democratic Party, particularly President Obama, now that the Health Care Reform Act was passed.  The evening made it possible to foster personal relationships with the leaders who will guide health care for the coming decades.  "Ultimately, I hope to bring Hospice and Palliative Medicine to the attention of our legislators at both the local and National level, and help guide the way to better care for the most vulnerable patients in our society."

The fundraising event was attended by about one hundred, including the Democratic leaders, policy makers, and invited guests.  Dr. Baker said that there was a sense that the monumental effort to bring about health care reform left the group somewhat battle weary, but all were aware that the real work was yet to begin.  Discussion centered upon "Where do we go from here, how should we best re-group, and how are we going to get the job done right?"

Dr. Baker and President Obama, who both attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, shared laughs about their college days.  Dr. Baker later went on to O.U.H.S.C., then residency at the University of Massachusetts, graduate school at Johns Hopkins, and Fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1997, and remained faculty there until 2007.  After having completed his Fellowship at Mass General Hospital, Brigham and Women's, and Dana-Farber, he served as a consultant in Palliative Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess before joining VNA Hospice Care of Boston as full time Medical Director.  He is one of the few hospice Medical Directors who is certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine by the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (ABHPM).  He is also board certified in Emergency Medicine, and has taught that specialty for many years.

Recently, Dr. Baker was also asked to join the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Health Policy Task Force, and in that capacity he hopes to help further the health care policy agenda of AAHPM at the national level.

Dr. Baker is passionate about hospice care and continues to take every opportunity to talk about progress that has been made in palliative medicine, and specifically all that VNA Hospice Care has to offer to referring physicians. As such he has recently met with Mount Auburn Cambridge Independent Practice Association (MACIPA) physicians and will also speak to physicians at Winchester Hospital in the near future. Please call VNA Hospice Care at 781-569-2888 or e-mail or if you would like to schedule Dr. Baker to meet with your physician group or for grand rounds regarding advances in Hospice care and opportunities for collaboration.

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