Last week’s Time feature “Bitter Pill” raised U.S. health care costs to a new level of public awareness. Regardless of the assertions made in the article, hospitals are an essential component in the health care delivery system in our country.
The historical multi-mission role hospitals play in clinical care, education, and research remains critically important to a functioning health care system. The problem they face is a major mismatch, developed over time, around escalating infrastructure costs, declining investment dollars for medical research and education and the national imperative to limit the growth of health care expenditures as a percent of GDP. The result is many hospitals struggling to meet demands for improved care delivery at a significantly lower cost – a mission inconsistent with their fundamental economic model. Retooling one’s business model at the same time your mission is changing is akin to the proverbial, “Changing the tires on the bus while it’s moving.” Finding a safe landing for our hospitals as the country accelerates its journey from a fee for service, volume-based system to a value-based accountable care system is one of the great challenges of our time.
We have been collaborating with hospitals for nearly six years on identifying a soft landing. This includes innovative care delivery and business model transformations that allow systems to meet the Triple Aim Plus One: cost, quality and patient and professional satisfaction, while maintaining their missions. Lumeris will leave it to investigative journalists and industry pundits to identify and promote the industry’s weaknesses and shortcomings, but we do believe it’s time to innovate and work together for the clinical and financial health of hospitals, patients and the nation.