Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CHRISTUS Health on the Right Journey as Health Care Reform Initiatives Accelerate

Clearly, the CHRISTUS Health goal to continue our journey to become one of the highest quality and lowest cost providers both in the U.S. and internationally appears to be the key to success for the for the minds of those driving health care reform, including Sen. Kennedy and President Obama.

The proposed plans emanating from the White House and Congress have several key strategies in common, including:

  • All persons will have health insurance

    • Those who can afford such will buy private insurance

    • Federal and state governments will approve waivers and subsidized insurance for the poor

    • Large employers will be required to continue to support health insurance for their employees

    • Small employers will be subsidized to support their employees

  • Providers will be paid parallel to their quality and service metrics

  • Utilizing evidenced-based medicine protocols to minimize overuse of technical studies and procedures will be rewarded

  • As the poor and underserved are covered by insurance, the DSH payments will be reduced

  • Pharmaceutical companies will be forced to reduce prices

Clearly, the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association are advocating for no reductions in payments until a feasible reform plan is developed and implemented. Unfortunately, as CHRISTUS Health leaders have been saying both to our internal and external audiences, there is no more money in the treasury, bad debt in health care is increasing and costs must be reduced immediately as fast as possible while the health care reform plans are being debated. Therefore, our leadership team has growing concerns about the Associations’ pleas for more money. Our approach is to offer concrete solutions which we have evolved over our first decade of CHRISTUS Health to increase our clinical and service quality, reduce our costs by enhancing our business literacy, while maintaining our leadership role in providing care for the poor, both in the U.S. and Mexico – our Journey to Excellence.

Clearly, many businesses, organizations and individuals have their eye on health care. Because we have had numerous discussions about the Wal-Mart organizations as we have opened our convenience clinics in partnership with them, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recent editorial written by Mike Duke, the president of Wal-Mart.

You can access the article at http://thehill.com/op-eds/wal-marts-eye-on-healthcare-2009-06-15.html.

As always, I hope you find the article to be informative and enlightening.

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