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    Here’s how to reduce healthcare costs

     

    We could expand the system to encourage more recently qualified doctors to serve in the U.S. HealthCorps for two years, caring for the less privileged and in areas having insufficient doctors. In return, these doctors could get their student loan forgiven. Besides, it gives these doctors great satisfaction and experience like those who served in the armed forces or U.S. public health services prior to the 1970s.

     

    Further reading: Uncertainty in healthcare driving DPC growth

     

    VII.          Deploy telemedicine. The current sporadic practice of medicine through e-mails and text messages can create slipshod medicine leading to errors. Both patients and providers can be distracted while e-mailing or texting and there is no opportunity to dialogue properly. Instead, introduce a new method, deploying virtual visits via Skype or FaceTime at an appointed time so that both patients and providers are concentrating. This also creates the appropriate medical record keeping. The provider should be compensated but at a more cost-effective rate, as overhead may be lower. This will decrease healthcare cost and make it more convenient for both providers and patients. Furthermore, the patients do not have to miss work.

    VIII.         We should also deploy more nurse practitioners and physician assistants who are well trained in the specialty in which they practice. It has been pointed out that a generalized nurse practitioner or physician assistant can lower the quality of healthcare. A well supervised specialty trained nurse practitioner or physician assistant can lower the total healthcare cost for the country and at the same time maintain quality of care as well as improve access. Another win-win.

     

    Hot topic: Why are women leaving medicine?

     

    IX.            The modern health information technology with “machine learning,” artificial intelligence, more user friendly interface and enhanced connectivity between providers, e.g. the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration can facilitate aspects of the above to cut costs and increase efficiency.

    The above is not a panacea to completely cure our healthcare chaos. It took us decades to get here, but if we all chip in, we can reduce healthcare costs by at least 28% of over $3 trillion without significantly compromising, and instead, increasing the quality of healthcare. 

    Simplifying the medical billing alone can save 20% of healthcare cost, helping payers and providers achieve a win-win. The above could be a first step to bring parties together in a round table to improve healthcare for the patients. We are all patients, whether in the past, present or in the future. Once Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, work together on the above nine points for the common good, the debate on ACA and AHCA will hopefully be more cordial. 

     

    Reference:

    1.     Otolarygology-Head and Neck Surgery (2009) 140, 775

    KJ Lee MD FACS
    K. J. Lee, MD, FACS is Harvard educated and taught at Yale.

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    • [email protected]
      This is one of the few articles that I have read on this subject that acknowledges that these bills are insurance bills and have little to do with actual health care. There is no one solution that is perfect, but you have outlined a number of good steps that would help. Unfortunately, the bills are written by lawyers, and have little input from the people it affects the most.
    • UBM User
      We are all bombarded daily with multiple news stories, correspondence from our medical societies, and editorials describing the "real" solutions to America's health care crisis. Unfortunately, these pundits either really don't have a clue or conveniently choose not to address the real problem and thus are completely off-base with potential solutions. This is the hard truth, from a front-line, solo, private-practice physician from "Mainstream, USA" who cares for the average Joe and Mary every day. The real problem in this country has everything to do with the amount of health care consumed, i.e., we have a consumption problem. Simply put, we require WAY too many health care resources. And Why??? Because we consume far too many calories, burn far too few calories - resulting in self-induced chronic illness and disease that, by far and away, IS THE MAJOR factor in American's health care crisis. Obesity and it's associated co-morbidities is, without a close second, the leading cause of medical expenditures in this country. We can argue whether access to quality health care is an American right - but it is a fact that one is NOT entitled to good health. That largely has to do with personal responsibility, hard work, discipline and making good health a priority. Unfortunately, the importance of these principles in today's society is fading dramatically. As long as the food industry is lining the pockets of the very people who have the ability to affect a change - and the drug companies, insurance giants, and large health care organizations are profiting hugely off the poor health of our country - change is not likely. It really is sad, but I firmly believe health in this country is in a rapid downward descent with no solution in sight. Who agrees? If not, how can this be disputed? 75% of adult Americans are either overweight or obese. At least 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes. Guess what these numbers were a short 30 years ago? Has human physiology changed? I don't think so...
    • [email protected]
      I agree with what you are saying but one thing that no one seems to be considering is that when you add high costs patients to an insurance plan the shared costs of those patients most be born by other members of the plan. Unless there are a significant number of healthy patients the costs become unaffordable. In example I am a small businessperson who gets insurance for myself, my wife (both in our 50's) and a 25 year old daughter at a cost of over $2,000 a month. This is a plan with a $6,000 individual deductible and a $17,500 out of pocket maximum expense. In the federal employee plan a similar plan costs about $750 a month with a $500 individual deductible, and lower coinsurance rates. Why can't we open up the Federal Insurance Program to all who want to join it. This would raise federal employees rates but the numbers should help to offset the high costs of those currently in the ACA plans.

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