Whether you like it or not health care financing is transitioning from payment for discrete services to global payment for value. Whether you agree with this trend, or comprehend its meaning, if it has one, is largely irrelevant in the short term. The government of the United States, the Chamber of Commerce, both political parties, all health care stakeholders, and even your own medical associations are fervently supporting, and actively ...

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In a recent grand rounds on the future of medicine, the buzzwords were “collaboration” and “managing of the health of populations.” The same day, a group of ten residents were presented with their patient data about cancer screening rates. In both venues, the call to “population health” elicited sighs of exasperation. It’s just another checkbox we are being asked to click off. How can we be assessed on that as ...

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Medicaid expansion “is one of the biggest milestones in health care reform,” according to the Obamacare Facts website. The goal was to provide insurance coverage to low-income Americans, specifically the uninsured. The major problem with Medicaid is low reimbursement. “Due to low payouts, many doctors don’t take Medicaid, and the quality of care tends to be poor,” admits the website. The solution was to raise the amount doctors get paid under ...

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More and more hospitals are realizing that the 30 to 50 percent of waste occurring within their organizations is not only real, but a tremendous opportunity.  This is good news for both our patients and our health care system.  The bad news is that many hospital executives believe that this waste is largely limited to processes like materials management, ER wait times and operating room first-starts. The next step in our ...

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Incentive structures in health care have to change. Right now, we pay for services, or have a so-called, fee-for-service system. The idea is that the more patients doctors see, the more expensive tests doctors order and the more patients doctors hospitalize, the more money clinics and hospitals make. This incentive structure has transformed our health care into sick care. The reality is, in America, we are adept at caring for complicated medical problems that require ...

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Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.  – Genesis 11:4 With these words, so begins the biblical story of The Tower of Babel. The tale was written, at least in part, to explain the origin of different languages. Essentially, a group of earth’s early inhabitants started to build a tower to the sky in order ...

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For years, policy experts have been predicting the end of fee-for-service.  Yet it can be said of fee-for-service that, like Mark Twain’s alleged demise, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. (Actually, this is an often-used misrepresentation of what Twain actually said. After the New York Herald incorrectly reported that he was “grievously ill and possibly dying,” an “amused” Mark Twain wrote that “the report of my death has been ...

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Infrastructure is never quite as interesting or exciting as innovation. The grand opening of a new building incorporating all the latest integrated technology is far more exciting than bridge repairs. In our fascination for the innovation, we often turn a blind eye to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

In the United States today, one quarter of our bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and more than 100 ...

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As our medical system attempts to evolve to better deal with the modern epidemics of lifestyle-driven chronic disease, much time and attention is being placed on the clinical models for prevention. Rightly so, and various viable models are popping up with names like lifestyle medicine, preventative medicine, and functional medicine. But one area that is hardly addressed is the payment structure and business model of the practices. Are there structures that ...

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Of all the radical changes affecting health care that have sent providers reeling, we are about to experience the knockout punch: the effort to change health care reimbursement from a quantity-based to a quality-based system. Of all the changes to health care, I can't think of any other that has been based on more false assumptions. Given the fact that there is always low hanging fruit, supporters of the quality-based ...

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