The Importance of Hospitals and Health Systems in Healthcare Reform

Mar 20, 2018

Dan Tasset is the founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of NueHealth. His blog posts offer his experienced and innovative views on healthcare, healthcare reform, and related topics.

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I would be following up regarding what each participant in healthcare can do to lower the cost of healthcare and to improve the value delivered to the consumer. The first participant that I’d like to talk about are hospitals and health systems. Last week several articles came out, one in The New York Times and one in The Wall Street Journal. The pieces talked about the number of hospital-acquired infections, the cost of hospital vs. outpatient, and they even cited specific studies that stated how many procedures or episodes of care could be 30-50% cheaper with fewer complication rates when done in an outpatient setting. In addition, they gave specific examples with numbers regarding hysterectomy, spine surgery, gallbladder and angioplasty just to name a few. The reports also mentioned that while the number of hospitals in the United States is declining (along with their occupancy rates), there are still too many hospitals in the U.S. In fact, we should get more creative on how to build a better outpatient delivery system by better utilizing technology such as telehealth. They gave many examples of how our delivery system is antiquated and needs to be updated. Just recently articles came out, likely in response to the pieces I’ve mentioned regarding the disadvantage of hospitals, talking about the risk of outpatient care. Obviously, this is very disingenuous and should cause the public to stop and think about what’s going on. This is purely a marketing ploy by the hospitals and health systems and it does nothing and it is intended to do nothing but hold back change. The change that’s drastically needed in this country to improve the value delivered to the patient must be led by all participants in the healthcare delivery system. It’s almost shameful that the hospitals would hold back change just to accommodate their old, antiquated business model. What we should all be focusing on is improving the value delivered to the consumer because it is, in fact, the patients that we all serve.