As the new year looms just around the corner a couple months away, so do major changes in the U.S. healthcare system. And while the ultimate end of such change is intended for the good, the transition can be difficult.
The following list includes quite serious issues that health organizations will have to face in 2017.
The transition from volume-based healthcare to value-based healthcare:
As the name says, the current volume-based model of healthcare incentivises quantity over quality. The more patients seen, procedures and tests administered, etc., the more money a provider is expected to make. However, physicians are not compensated for vital health components such as patient education, and the quantity-driven protocol often results in unnecessary appointments, repeated testing, and an overall waste of time and health care spending.
Transitioning to the value-based approach truly puts the patients at the center of healthcare delivery by making them the primary influencers of health providers’ revenues. For instance, if a provider’s quality of care does not meet certain standards, that provider can suffer financial consequences and penalties from Medicare and Medicaid.
Rising Healthcare Costs:
The United States currently spends $3 trillion annually on healthcare, and The U.S. Labor Department reported earlier this month that healthcare spending rose more in September 2016 than it had in the past three decades. From insurance premiums increasing, to more patient out-of-pocket spending, to growth in higher-deductible plans, to hiked pharmaceutical prices, rising costs are by far the most prominent healthcare concern on many people’s minds.
And patients aren’t the only one affected. As Health Catalyst Vice President Jared Crapo states, “Pressure to reduce costs travels from employers to payers and on to providers. Providers must make the changes necessary to curb the cost trend.” As revenue from Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers continues to decrease, health provider profits will inevitably go down as well, thus diminishing the reimbursement they receive for the cost of providing quality care. And one of the keys to quality healthcare is hiring skilled professionals to administer that care.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has projected that the U.S. will have a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians in the next 10 years. Not only is this lack of caregivers a detrimental problem for the quality of care patients will receive, but it is a costly one as well. Physician vacancies bring around $1 million in lost revenues per year, per vacancy.
The shortages of non-physician positions, both clinical and non-clinical, are also troubling, as they cause costs to increase over time. Higher labor costs thus make it more difficult for healthcare organizations to hire the best qualified job candidates, which yet again threatens the quality of care.
Although these three issues are each individually important, they are also directly related. Appropriately addressing one issue may help improve another, but likewise, failing to meet the needs of one of the issues will make it harder to do so for the others as well.
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.