Healthcare Business DEMYSTIFIED

de mys ti fy - to make less mysterious, clarify

Why are there so many changes in healthcare?

Perhaps you have noticed some changes every time you go to your doctor's office and have wondered why.  The healthcare industry is at a crossroads presently and we are all experiencing changes in the way healthcare is delivered.  The cost of healthcare continues to rise in the United States and the problem has come to the attention of our elected officials.  Many studies have been conducted to try to understand what makes the cost of healthcare increase in our country and what can be done to reign in the costs.  Many offices are presently trying various methods to decrease the costs of delivering healthcare in the office.  Many offices are using technology to increase their efficiency and save money.  Of course, it takes money to purchase technology so the initial costs to get these things going are astronomical.  Many offices are finding themselves being squeezed by both the insurance companies and the federal government.  Insurance companies want to keep their costs down and are paying doctor's offices the same fee or a lower fee for healthcare for their members.  The Federal government has taken a lot of interest in the healthcare industry as of late and has established a lot of regulations and requirements on the physician office.  The amount of paperwork that physician offices must process has quadrupled over the last several years.  The physician office must do more and provide more information to the Federal government than it has ever done in the past.  All in the name of safety, improved quality, and increased efficiency.  Physician offices are getting paid less, in real dollar terms, and are being asked to do more.  They are being asked to spend more time filling out paperwork and less time with patients.  They are being asked to see more patients, work longer hours and get paid the same amount of money they did 10 years ago.  It is no wonder we are seeing more physicians retiring early.  Burnout is at an all time high and the number of physicians who are looking at ways to supplement their incomes are staggering.  Is your doctor selling nutracuticals in his or her office?  It could be because they are looking for additional ways to supplement their income. 

The jury is still out on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  All of us in the healthcare industry sure do hope that something good will come of it and our industry will stabilize.  Currently, it appears that those who did not have health insurance prior to the Affordable Care Act are now benefitting from the expanded Medicaid criteria.  This group of people are now receiving the healthcare that they so desperately needed and put off.  The people who seem to be suffering the most are the middle class Americans who had health insurance already.  They are seeing their policies change and their benefits decreased.  Many are seeing the cost of their monthly premium go up and the amount of their co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance increase.  Their out of pocket costs are increasing as well as the amount they pay for their pharmaceuticals.  New policies shift more of the healthcare burden to the individual.

What is the future of healthcare?  Who knows where we are headed.  I, for one, hope that all of the negative aspects of the current system can be eliminated and a better system can be developed.  I think it will take time for us to figure out how to do this correctly but hopefully it will become clear what he have to do.  It might be time to return healthcare to the healthcare professionals and let them devise a plan.  Large industries may not need to have a prominent place at the table as their decision making abilities are clouded by their profit making requirements.  It is time for us to get back to basics and put the good of the whole in front of the needs of the special interest groups.