The Healthcare Cost Containment Dialogue Continues
Continuing our coverage of the cost containment and the potential reconfiguration of healthcare going forward, this blog contains links to three articles discussing cost containment issues. One is a recent article from the Washington Times which describes the potential of an Executive Order requiring physicians to take care of all patients covered under the Affordable Care Act irrespective of the financial consequences to the practice. The second is a September 22, 2012 article in the Atlantic as to the reorganization of the healthcare industry. The article outlines not only a change of attitude, but the commitment of time needed to care for patients. As pointed out in the article “from a strictly economic point of view, it might be possible to reduce the average length of doctor-physician interactions from twenty (20) minutes to fifteen (15) minutes, and from fifteen (15) minutes to twelve (12) minutes. This would enable each doctor to see five (5) patients per hour instead of three (3). But doing so may require doctors to stop listening to and caring for their patients. It might make good economic sense, but it does not make good medical sense. An efficient “doctor is not always a good doctor.” If we combine a requirement for additional services from the healthcare provider with a reduction in compensation to the healthcare provider, then the financial squeeze on the healthcare provider may adversely affect the ability of the healthcare provider to provide the resources necessary to deliver healthcare. The third article is from the Bloomberg website by Peter Orszag, former Director of the Federal Office of Management and Budget under President Obama. The article discusses the “re-engineering” of the health care delivery system which will reduce health care expenditures by reducing payments to providers.