Articles

  • Tennessee gubernatorial candidates discuss education in forum (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | On Tuesday night, Tennessee voters will have their first chance to hear from candidates running for governor on one of the most important topics for the future of our great state: Education. This first statewide forum featuring gubernatorial candidates from both political parties is being hosted by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE),…

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  • Alex Azar has the temperament, judgment, and focus to lead HHS (STAT)

    by Bill Frist

    STAT | The secretary of HHS is one of the most important Cabinet positions in the federal government. The department has a budget of over $1 trillion and 70,000 employees, and its programs touch nearly every American. With such an extensive reach, the HHS secretary must be experienced managing complex and large organizations; possess broad knowledge across…

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  • Six Lessons from 50 Years of Heart Transplantation (LinkedIn Pulse)

    by Bill Frist

    LINKED IN | December 3rd is a historic day in modern medical history – this year marked the 50th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant. Once considered the stuff of science fiction, this miraculous procedure now saves thousands of lives each year, with 3,191 heart transplants performed in the United States in 2016 alone. The medical miracle of…

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  • What Tennessee Republicans and Democrats agree on: don’t smoke (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | On December 13th the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids released its annual report “Broken Promises to Our Kids,” which evaluates how states address the “enormous health problems caused by tobacco use in the United States.” One of the key metrics is funding, and I’m proud to report that – after many years of stagnant…

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  • World AIDS Day — let’s work with urgency to battle this disease (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is one of the most successful humanitarian relief efforts ever undertaken. It is directed at one of the world’s most daunting public health problems. AIDS strikes people in the prime of their lives, shatters families and communities, orphans children, and threatens the ability of…

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  • Opinion: We started PEPFAR. Politicizing AIDS would be a disaster (DEVEX)

    by Bill Frist

    DEVEX | A decade and a half ago, we came together to bridge the political divide and address one of history’s worst public health crises. In 2002, 3.1 million people worldwide died of AIDS-related causes and 11 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had lost one or more parents to the disease. The AIDS epidemic was only getting…

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  • Hard Cases: Tennessee’s First Heart-Lung Transplant (Linked In)

    by Bill Frist

    LINKED IN | One month after Christmas, in 1987, my surgical team and I prepared for Tennessee’s first heart-lung transplant. A determined mother, desperate to live, was flying to Tennessee to receive the heart and lungs from a young woman in Nashville whose own life had ended too soon. It was a bold step for…

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  • The indispensable role of America in the world (Salt Lake Tribune)

    by Bill Frist

    SALT LAKE TRIBUNE |The challenges we face in the world today are different but no less severe: Chinese military activities in South China Sea, Russian aggression in Ukraine, Cyber-attacks, North Korean nuclear ambitions. But they also include softer threats ranging from unprecedented food insecurity and famines to mass migration and refugee flows to the threats…

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  • Reach Act will save lives, continue America’s moral leadership (Knoxville News Sentinel)

    by Bill Frist

    KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL | Nearly 15 years ago, Congress passed a historic, bipartisan bill that has since provided life-saving HIV/AIDS treatment to nearly 12 million people and reversed the spread of this devastating disease worldwide. The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, better known today as PEPFAR, has been heralded as a model for how…

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  • Notes From The Road: Bob Marshall Log, August 2017

    by Bill Frist

    Notes From The Road | The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex consists of three wilderness areas in Montana totaling over 1.5 million acres. Located in the northern Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide, the region is as primitive as any found in the United States outside of Alaska. It’s also diverse, encompassing the dry and open…

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  • Children’s Health Insurance Program Demands Quick, Bipartisan Passage (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Why would someone give up a career as a full-time surgeon to become an elected official? It was a question I was asked time and again during my two terms in the U.S. Senate. To me, the answer was always clear: I was searching for a way to make a positive impact on…

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  • Five bipartisan steps toward stabilizing our healthcare system with Andy Slavitt (Washington Post)

    by Bill Frist

    WASHINGTON POST | At a meeting in California this spring, we sat down with a number of insurance company chief executives who are major participants in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. They asked us to carry back a message to Washington: Put partisanship aside and end federal uncertainty about support for the ACA; otherwise, they will…

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  • Bill Frist and Jill Biden: A call for better health and learning (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | At Carpenters Middle School in Blount County, exercise and reading go hand in hand. Nearly 200 students participate in the “Pedal Power” program, spending 20 minutes a day reading a book they select while riding a recumbent bike. Students say that when they are physically active while they learn, they notice a difference, with one…

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  • Put Out The Fire Instead Of Burning Exchanges To The Ground: Extend Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Eight years ago, former Democratic Senator John Breaux and I wrote: “Given the acrimony that’s developed over efforts to reform our nation’s health insurance system, many Americans wonder whether true bipartisan agreement on health reform can ever be possible. In short, it can.” Back then, we watched contentious debate over what came to be known…

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  • In Fight Against Extreme Poverty, Congress Must Now Protect America’s Leadership (Forbes)

    by Global

    FORBES | A new report issued by the Joint Monitoring Program on Water Supply and Sanitation shows that 2.1 billion people don’t even have access to safe drinking water at home. More than twice that number—4.5 billion people, or a full 60% of earth’s population—live without a toilet that safely protects them from human waste….

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  • Bill Frist to Congress: Stand up for nature. Don’t starve conservation programs

    by Global

    USA TODAY | I recently visited the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area—a gem of the national park system in my beloved home state of Tennessee. As I walked its trails, rode horses, camped and met with a wonderful cross-section of Americans along the way, I was grateful for our nation’s public lands…

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  • Six devastating effects of cutting CDC funding (The Hill)

    by Global

    THE HILL | Congress will soon be faced with many momentous decisions that will affect the lives of Americans for years to come. One of the most critical threats to our health is the potential for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) budget to be reduced to its lowest levels in 20 years…

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  • A New Model Of Community Care: Aspire Health And Transforming Advanced Illness Care (Forbes)

    by Global

    FORBES | For loved ones with advanced illness such as cancer or heart disease or with severe symptoms from a chronic illness, especially in the last year or so of life, what we desperately want is for them to seamlessly receive high quality, compassionate care at home that keeps them comfortable and free from pain…

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  • The Science Behind How Nature Affects Your Health (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Have you ever wondered how experiencing nature can improve your health and your life? Increasingly, healthcare and public health professionals are recognizing that the social determinants of health—including where we’re born, live, work, play and age—collectively have a far greater impact on our health outcomes than the healthcare delivery system. It’s estimatedthat healthcare services account…

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  • For Patients With Multiple Chronic Conditions, Improving Care Will Be A Bipartisan Effort (Health Affairs Blog)

    by Bill Frist

    HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG | While federal policy makers are undertaking controversial and divisive debates over the future of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and Democrats have had a good track record of working together to improve health care delivery and payment frameworks. Most recently, the bipartisan Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 reformed Medicare’s physician…

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  • Updated Nutrition Labels Can Make Us Healthier Consumers (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | As health-minded consumers of food, I think we all deserve to know what is in the packaged food we buy. Giving consumers information to make their own choices sounds as American as apple pie, but somehow in today’s fractured political system, it’s become a major point of contention. For the health of our…

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  • As Congress Debates, What Steps Shall I Take?

    by Bill Frist

    Written with Gary Dodd There’s a lot of uncertainty in healthcare today including changes to the Affordable Care Act and changes at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As healthcare professionals, we hope we are moving to a world of alternative payment models that will be focused on quality of care, not quantity of…

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  • Here’s how we can make Earth Day every day in Nashville (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | Earth Day matters — to you and your health. Earth Day was established in 1970 to make us think, for at least one day, about the health of our environment. We submit that every day should be Earth Day. Not just for the health of nature, but for your health and well-being. When 90 percent of a…

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  • The National Academy Of Medicine’s Vital Directions For Health: Forging a Path for our Future (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Health is more than healthcare. Smart reform looks beyond the current conversation of repeal and replace. It must include an active and empowered consumer making choices that matter within a modern, connected, knowledge-driven system. That is the powerful message of the National Academy of Medicine’s pivotal report released today. Drawing on the expertise of 150…

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  • No. 1 killer of Nashville women may surprise you (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | If you were asked to name the No. 1 cause of death in women in Davidson County, what would you say? Some might suggest cancer, or perhaps Alzheimer’s. But the truth is that our number one “lady killer” is a condition that many consider a man’s disease.  And what’s even more striking is that its early symptoms…

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  • Reconsider severe international affairs budget cuts (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    TENNESSEAN | While music, faith, health care, and even hot chicken have made Nashville famous, we also have a robust hub of research, work, and advocacy for global health and development. Thanks to the dozens of humanitarian organizations providing excellent services for vulnerable populations worldwide, Vanderbilt’s Institute for Global Health research and development, and the missions…

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  • Bill Frist: Foreign Aid Saves Lives—And Makes America Safer (Christianity Today)

    by Bill Frist

    CHRISTIANITY TODAY | For the past two decades, we have had a front-row seat in the bipartisan movement to end worldwide preventable, treatable diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to make poverty history. Since 1990, the world has cut in half maternal and child deaths, infectious diseases, and poverty as well as turned the…

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  • Tackling Tobacco Use In The Volunteer State: Let’s Start With Tennessee Quit Week (FORBES)

    by Bill Frist

    Forbes | In the last six weeks, two critical reports have shined a spotlight on Tennessee’s high levels of tobacco use and inadequate prevention efforts. In December, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health organizations published a report that compared funding for tobacco cessation and prevention in each state, and Tennessee ranked a dismal 45th nationwide. …

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  • The Case for Keeping America’s AIDS Relief Plan (New York Times)

    by Bill Frist

    NEW YORK TIMES | Among global public health advocates, there is a growing concern that President Trump may cut back, or even eliminate, programs that have played a critical role in fighting diseases worldwide. While every administration should strongly review our nation’s overseas commitments, and there are undoubtedly programs that we should cut, I hope…

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  • Telemedicine can improve access to quality, affordable care in Texas (Texas Tribune)

    by Bill Frist

    TEXAS TRIBUNE | If you become ill and need a doctor tonight at 11, who will you call? What will you do? Texans in Austin, Dallas, or Houston are probably surprised to learn that Texas ranks 47th in the nation in the number of active primary care physicians per capita. Among its 254 counties, 35…

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  • Less salt in foods means longer lives — Trump’s administration can fix this (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | No state is an island when it comes to our food and its impact — good or bad — on our population’s health. That’s why it’s critically important for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue its efforts to reduce sodium in our packaged and restaurant foods. In June, the FDA…

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  • Healthy Foods Are Good For Business And Deserve The Support Of President-Elect Trump

    by Bill Frist

    At the start of a new year, we often find ourselves making resolutions to eat healthier and get active (I know I’m one of those people!). But the good news is, America’s interest in healthier foods has become a year-round trend, not just a New Year’s fad. More than 66% of shoppers say they want…

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  • Supporting Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

    by Bill Frist

    Betsy DeVos has been nominated for the next U.S. Secretary of Education, and I believe she is the best person for the position. I’ve known Betsy for many years, and I’ve seen firsthand her passion for education and for our children. Here is the letter I’ve just sent Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the Committee on Health,…

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  • New Model Can Advance Treatments, Cures For Rare Diseases (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | If your child suffered from a rare and incurable disease, what would you do to find a cure? My former colleague and good friend Dr. Chip Chambers faced just such a challenge, and took the bull by the horns. Last month, Dr. Chambers organized a unique medical conference that should serve as a model…

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  • Groundbreaking 21st Century Cures Act

    by Bill Frist

    The US Senate just voted 94-5 to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. This is an historic moment for American medical innovation and the millions of patients who will benefit. The Cures Act is groundbreaking. Over the 40 years I have been in medicine, there has never been a more exciting time for medical innovation…

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  • How NashvilleHealth Is Maximizing Community Population Health (Health Affairs)

    by Bill Frist

    HEALTH AFFAIRS | How can Main Street, America, move the needle in a city’s population health and wellbeing? It begins with a solid, organizational structure built for the long term. I fondly call my hometown, Nashville, the “Silicon Valley of Health Services.” With 18 publicly traded national health care companies headquartered here with annual global health…

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  • The time to act is now: Bipartisan action will accelerate cures for Americans (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | With the election over, speculation is rampant on what this means for politics and policy in 2017.  We need to take a step back however, and realize there is critical work to be completed by Congress in 2016, to set the stage for a new generation of medical innovation, and demonstrate to the…

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  • TrumpCare: In The Beginning… (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | The immediate question for those whose lives focus around lifting the health of individual Americans is, “What does Donald J. Trump’s presidency mean for health care in America?” At the heart of the answer is uncertainty. Trump is an “unknown unknown” when it comes to deep, thoughtful health policy. He has excelled in many…

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  • It’s time for the U.S. to lead on combating global malnutrition (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | One single public health crisis accounts for nearly half (45%) of all child deaths under age five. Every 4 seconds, a person dies from this cause – approximately 21,000 every day. And shockingly, nearly one in nine people globally is affected.  What is this epidemic that has taken so many lives? That has…

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  • My Turn: Around the world, Ayotte is a force for good (Concord Monitor)

    by Bill Frist

    CONCORD MONITOR | Since entering the U.S. Senate in 2011, Sen. Kelly Ayotte has emerged as a leading voice on U.S. national security and foreign policy. Through her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Ayotte has established herself as a strong defense hawk, consistently leading efforts to protect national security spending and to call…

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  • Tennessee Makes Huge Strides

    by Bill Frist

    In 2013, Tennessee’s progress on math and reading scores was considered a bright spot. Today, our students continue to excel and have made Tennessee the fastest improving state in science since 2009. On behalf of our team at SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education), I applaud our students and teachers for their tireless efforts to…

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  • The Last Shall Be First: Haitian Women Taking Steps To End Poverty (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | How is it possible that the people of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere have to shoulder repeatedly the impact of one natural disaster after another? And what can we do as one of its closest neighbors – and by far the wealthiest country in the hemisphere – to best empower the…

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  • Want a more resilient world? Give mothers access to the tools they deserve (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    With Michelle Nunn, CARE President and CEO THE HILL | In 2010, the world watched in horror as more than 200,000 people lost their lives to a devastating earthquake in Haiti. And we shuddered again earlier this month when Hurricane Matthew – the most powerful storm to hit Haiti in more than 60 years – killed…

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  • Our Abysmal Maternal Health Statistics And How To Improve Them (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | This past year, the United States received the dubious distinction of being one of only 7 countries in the world, including Somalia and Afghanistan, which have seen an increase in maternal mortality. While countries with far fewer resources such as India and Brazil have made great strides to decrease the number of women who…

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  • Hurricane Matthew & Haiti A Week Later

    by Bill Frist

    Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, made landfall at about 7am this morning on the southwestern tip of Haiti.  Tracy and I just left Haiti a week ago, where we traveled with Hope Through Healing Hands and CARE to assess progress made since the massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck in January 2010, resulting in…

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  • The Newborn Illness That Nobody Is Talking About – And It’s Not Zika (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Nothing can prepare a mother for seeing her newborn seize multiple times an hour, refuse to eat or sleep, and shake uncontrollably. That’s what Julia found herself facing after severe chronic back pain from a car accident left her dependent on opioids. Julia had been a college student from a middle class family with…

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  • Why We Need To Discuss Healthy Timing And Spacing Of Pregnancies (Huffington Post)

    by Bill Frist

    HUFFINGTON POST | Did you know that the number of women who die each year as a result of pregnancy is on the rise in the United States? A discussion needed in our country and across the globe is the health and wellbeing of women and children. Read more at Huffington Post.  

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  • Back to Haiti

    by Bill Frist

    NOTES FROM THE ROAD | It’s no secret that I believe investing in global health is absolutely essential, and investments in women and girls—particularly maternal and child health—does nothing less than change a country’s trajectory. Next week, Tracy is joining me as I lead a delegation from all over the United States on a learning…

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  • Systems Strategies for Better Health Throughout the Life Course: A Vital Direction for Health and Health Care (National Academy of Medicine)

    by Bill Frist

    NATIONAL ACADEMY OF MEDICINE | Health and health care outcomes for Americans should be better for most, and much better for some. This should be possible with currently available knowledge and resources. Capturing the potential will require adapting our strategies and approaches to the reality that health is not immutably determined at birth, but shaped by different…

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  • Thank you and best wishes to Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

    by Bill Frist

    Earlier today Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, the first woman and the first African American to lead the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), announced that she was stepping down from her role as President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. I have been honored to serve with Risa on the RWJF Board. Her leadership…

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  • Congress Must Preserve Quitlines and The Tips Program (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Smoking is the number one killer and public health challenge today, causing more deaths each year than automobile accidents, firearm-related injuries, HIV, illegal drug use, and alcohol abuse—combined. As a surgeon, it was the primary cause of the heart and lung disease that I operated on every day for 15 years. In my…

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  • The right prescription for biomedical innovation (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | If you were a patient suffering from a disease, and you read about a treatment option for your illness, you would probably be eager to learn more. Imagine that the drug, device or other intervention had been on the market for several years, and studies showed that it was especially effective in some…

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  • The Food We Eat Daily That Leads To Poor Heart Health For Our Children (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Earlier this year, I called attention to the dangers added sugars pose to cardiovascular health and other health outcomes.  In the months since, many people have told me how surprised they’ve been to learn about the sugar hidden in their healthy morning yogurt or afternoon energy bar.  Frankly, I was too.  And this lack of food literacy…

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  • How Bundled Payments Can Change Healthcare (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | Rising health care costs are a top concern for Americans today, with 64% of voters in a January 2016 Kaiser Health tracking poll, citing a candidate’s position on the cost of health care, health insurance, and prescription drugs as “the single most important factor” or “a very important factor” in their vote…

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  • FDA Draft Guidance on Real-World Data (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | In a document issued this week, the Food & Drug Administration laid out for comment its draft guidance of how real-world evidence could support regulatory decision-making for medical devices. This is a positive step forward for improving the medical product development process. At the Bipartisan Policy Center, Representative Bart Gordon and I have been urging…

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  • Exploring the Social Determinants of Public Health with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

    by Bill Frist

    NOTES FROM THE ROAD | Scotland—Survival of men and women in Scotland is the worst in Western Europe. So is their general health. Why is that? What is being done? How successful are the new, bold initiatives that were launched in 2010? I am in Glasgow with the board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)…

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  • When Regenerative Medicine Changes Everything (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | Two weeks ago I led a panel discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) on medical innovation with my good friends Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Health,Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, and former Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), who previously chaired the House Committee on Science and Technology.  We were…

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  • How Real-World Data Could Change Medicine (US News & World Report)

    by Bill Frist

    US NEWS & WORLD REPORT | With continuing advances in science and technology, the pace of medical breakthroughs is accelerating. Today, we can treat or even cure conditions that significantly shortened life just a generation ago. The exciting promises of personalized medicine are now becoming reality. Congressman Bart Gordon and I co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s…

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  • From Volume To Value: Achieving Bold Change In Our Healthcare Payment Systems (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | One question I hear repeatedly as I travel the country discussing healthcare is whether the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care can really be done in a way that lowers cost and improves patient care. The answer is: it can. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, successful systems change requires the collaboration and…

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  • Better Healthcare at Lower Costs (AHIP 2016)

    by Bill Frist

    NOTES FROM THE ROAD | I had the privilege of speaking yesterday at America’s Health Insurance Plans Institute and Expo. Along with Bernard Tyson (Kaiser Permanente) and David Bernd (Sentara Healthcare), I discussed “Better Health Care at Lower Cost: Is It Possible?” You know my answer: It is absolutely possible with technology. In case you…

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  • Salty Stuff (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | When more than 75% of the sodium you eat comes from processed foods and restaurant meals, it can seem like the problem is out of your hands. How can you cut back on salt effectively when you can’t control those foods? The Food & Drug Administration feels the same way. In a draft guidance…

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  • The Most Helpful Illegal Medical Procedure (Fox News)

    by Bill Frist

    FOX NEWS | Last year 47,000 Americans had their blindness reversed through the transplantation of cells from a corneal donor’s final selfless act. It is safe, it is effective, and because it is curative, it is a relatively cost effective procedure. It is medicine at its most beautiful. And according to FDA regulations, the distribution of this…

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  • The Senate Must Streamline the Drug Regulatory Process (Wall Street Journal)

    by Bill Frist

    WALL STREET JOURNAL | Before the Senate is a powerful medical-innovation package of 19 bills—a companion to the House-approved 21st Century Cures Act—that will streamline the nation’s regulatory process for the discovery, development and delivery of safe and effective drugs and devices, bringing the process into the new century. This legislation, crafted by the Senate’s…

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  • Four Strategies to Save Lives, Curb Smoking (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | This  month, FDA passed The Tobacco Control Act, which grants the Agency the authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and any other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and hookah pipes. The truth is, smoking and tobacco take 500,000 lives in the US each year, and healthcare for a smoker costs the system…

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  • Congress Must Act Now to Improve School Nutrition (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | While headlines harp that the U.S. is a nation “hopelessly divided,” there is something lawmakers can band together on: forging a solution to our obesity epidemic.  In addition to being one of the greatest health threats our nation has ever faced, it is a terrible burden for employers, who are forced to…

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  • Let’s stand with retired military leaders to get healthy school meals over the finish line (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist

    THE HILL | While headlines harp that the U.S. is a nation “hopelessly divided,” there is something lawmakers can band together on: forging a solution to our obesity epidemic.  In addition to being one of the greatest health threats our nation has ever faced, it is a terrible burden for employers, who are forced to…

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  • Spring Update (Newsletter)

    by Bill Frist

    So much of my work is a balance of progress and conservation. Now, more than ever, that’s playing out at home. Tracy and I are working to turn Old Town, our Williamson County home on the Old Natchez Trace, into a thriving farm while preserving and honoring the property’s centuries-old history. We welcomed new members to…

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  • Tomorrow Might Be The Most Important Day This Year (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    It’s true that we are all living longer: the percentage of American adults over 65 years old has doubled since 1940, now reaching 13%. By 2050 that number is expected to double again to 25%. In actual numbers this translates to an estimated 89 million “senior citizens” by 2050. Advances in sanitation and the advent…

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  • Improving Access and Adding Value for Mental Health Care (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    “When you break a leg, you get a cast and people sign it and put smiley faces on it. When you’re given a mental illness diagnosis, you’re cast out,” 24-year old Amanda explained to Kaiser Health News. Amanda was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in college, after several years of manic-depressive behavior. The family struggled financially and…

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  • Charleston Helps Mothers and Children Globally (The Post and Courier)

    by Bill Frist

    This week, global health non-profit Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) seeks to galvanize the work already being done in Charleston and South Carolina around an important health initiative. HTHH will co-host a luncheon with faith leaders, nonprofit leaders, university leaders, and others in Charleston to discuss how we can better unite on behalf of child…

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  • Global Health: The Most Effective Policy

    by Bill Frist

    As the 2016 primaries unfold, it’s time for candidates of both parties to focus on expanding the big-hearted policies that have made this nation so exceptional. In recent years, the most effective of those policies has been global health — that is, putting U.S. resources to work saving lives in developing nations by spreading health treatments…

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  • Cutting Sugar for Better Health

    by Bill Frist

    On a trip this month to the U.K., I noticed many of their food and beverage products labeled “No Added Sugar,” and the message floods the airwaves. Britain has already caught on to the evils of hidden sugars, and has been loudly making it known to consumers. America should follow suit. Reducing sugar intake isn’t…

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  • Tennessee Quit Week a first step to healthier Nashville (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | Of the thousands of heart and lung operations I have performed, the most common cause of the underlying disease in these patients was a single voluntary behavior: smoking. That tragedy is what Tennessee Quit Week (Feb. 22-28) is all about. Smoking absolutely leads to a shorter, poorer-quality life. It more than doubles a person’s…

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  • Flint’s Water Crisis and Public Health 3.0

    by Bill Frist

    When looking at the ongoing crisis over safe drinking water in Flint one thing is abundantly clear, the decisions made–at multiple levels–were made without a comprehensive evaluation of the impact on public health. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and I take a look at the public health approaches…

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  • Health Diplomacy in Latin America

    by Bill Frist

    Strategic Health Diplomacy (SHD) recognizes that targeted global health initiatives can be an important foreign policy tool for the United States.  Healthier populations are productive, safe, and less vulnerable to instability. By addressing global health in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the United States can save lives and improve its national strategic interests. Read…

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  • A Cancer Moonshot With A Clear Plan

    by Bill Frist

    The Obama administration announced on Monday that it hopes to spend a total of a $1 billion to fund a cancer “moonshot” in search of cures. That amount is likely not sufficient, but it can establish the framework by which the goal can eventually be met.  It is critical that under this rallying cry we…

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  • Congressional Challenges for 2016

    by Bill Frist

    2015 was Congress’s year. For the first time since 2011, both chambers of Congress were led by the same party. Leaders of both the House and Senate worked together on legislation instead of against each other. It was an about face. Unfortunately, election years are notoriously less-productive. But with bipartisan commitment, we can continue to reap the benefits of…

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  • What’s Needed to Remain Competitive in Medical Innovation

    by Bill Frist

    Less than a week ago, Congress voted to increase the NIH budget by $2 billion. That’s a lot of money, but it only just reverses the erosion of federal funding for critical biomedical research. This funding increase is much-needed. But there’s more than can be done on Capitol Hill to re-prioritize lifesaving biomedical research. Read more at…

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  • Season’s Greetings

    by Bill Frist

    Merry Christmas all! Tracy and I hope this holiday season brings peace and joy and 2015 was a rewarding year. It’s been a fall of new beginnings for us in many ways. After three sons, and two grandsons, our family welcomed our first granddaughter, Amelia Fearn Frist, just over a month ago. We launched a…

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  • The Childhood Experiences That Can Cut 20 Years Off Your Life

    by Bill Frist

    I recently heard a startling statistic. According to a CDC study, children who endure six or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by the age of 18—incidents of abuse or neglect that make a child feel unsafe or unwanted in their home—live on average 20 years less than their peers who are not exposed to these…

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  • Approve Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug Pathway (The Tennessean)

    by Bill Frist

    THE TENNESSEAN | A recent study about antibiotic resistance hit close to home for me. It projected that drug-resistant bacteria are developing at a pace that could soon threaten the lives of thousands more surgery patients each year. This study also revealed that as many as half of infections after surgery are already being caused by pathogens…

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  • The Numbers are In: The Case for NashvilleHealth

    by Bill Frist

    I like to keep an eye on my hometown’s statistics. I love seeing Nashville listed among the nation’s best cities to launch a startup, raise a family and visit for a weekend away. According to some estimates, we gain 80 new Nashvillians each day, transplants from all over, drawn to our welcoming atmosphere and our…

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  • Our Opportunity Where Health and National Security Converge (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist

    FORBES | This week, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and I released a report recommending a policy of strategic health diplomacy, inspired and informed by the success of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).  The report’s publication was announced at a conference in Washington, DC, where many of the architects of PEPFAR came together to advocate…

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  • Retreating From Global Leadership Puts America at Risk

    by Bill Frist

    The 2016 presidential campaign is well under way, and the candidates are already jousting over who is best suited to respond to an increasing number of obstacles abroad, ranging from the refugees crisis in Europe and the Middle East, to the threat of ISIS, to Russian aggression under President Vladimir Putin. As Democrats and Republicans,…

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  • What PEPFAR’s Numbers Mean for National Security

    by Bill Frist

    As of last year, PEPFAR supported anti-retroviral treatment for 7.7 million people, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and an astounding 95 percent of at-risk babies were born HIV-free. In 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the one-millionth baby had been born HIV-free because of PEPFAR-supported prevention of mother-to-child transmission. No nation in history has been…

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  • The Superbug Fight at your Grocery Store

    by Bill Frist

    You may have heard statistics about the over-use of prescription drugs, with reports indicating that up to half of all antibiotics prescribed today are used improperly. It’s a huge problem contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What you may not have heard, however, is that the majority of drugs used in the U.S. aren’t even taken…

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  • In Memory of Fred Thompson

    by Bill Frist

    Today Tennessee lost a talented and admired statesman and many of us lost a beloved friend. Working at his side in the Senate for 8 years, Fred embodied what has always been the best of Tennessee politics—he listened carefully and was happy to work across the aisle for causes that he believed were right. My…

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  • Congratulations to the 2015 SCORE Prize Winners

    by Bill Frist

    All year long the State Collaborative on Reforming Education—SCORE—works with and for students, parents, and teachers in Tennessee and each October we have the privilege of dedicating an evening to recognizing the amazing progress they have made. I love that our annual SCORE Prize awards ceremony doesn’t just bring together administrators and policy makers in…

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  • Making Health Convenient

    by Bill Frist

    I believe one of the secrets of achieving good population health is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and I’m so pleased to learn of businesses in Tennessee who are working to make that a reality. Tri-Star Services’ Twice Daily convenience stores are making a strong committment to offering  healthy food and drink…

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  • In Search of the Family Doctor

    by Bill Frist

    Over the course of three visits to Cuba in the past year I have learned much about this nation, its people, its art, and its healthcare system.  We’ve toured polyclinics, hospitals, and medical schools. I’ve met with professors and medical students.  We’ve gotten the government’s healthcare statistics and double checked those with providers on the…

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