Ten years from now where will health care be? Will all Americans have health insurance? Will health care be delivered in the best way possible? Will costs be contained? No one knows for sure. But we can be the ones who shape the future of health care delivery. Right now we can be the ones who can make sure that our children and grandchildren will have fair and competitive health insurance rates, high-quality health care and the peace of mind that comes with it. I say we stop blaming and start finding solutions.
Doctors must now become better business people. They must look for ways to become more cost efficient and deliver quality care at the same time. It is not impossible. By studying the new health care law and being up to date on all the new rules and regulations, doctors can be creative and implement cost saving measures in their own offices. Be proactive and meet challenges head on. Mary Pat Whaley, a Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives with 25 years of experience in health care management has listed on her blog, Manage My Practice, “101 Ideas for Increasing Revenue and Decreasing Costs in Your Medical Practice”. She has great ideas to add or subtract services that can make medical offices more profitable. Does it make sense to hire a mid-level provider like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant? Can some of the administrative processes in the office be streamlined? Is there a good triage system and medical follow-up in place? Search the internet, get advice from a tax consultant and discuss with other physicians ways to be more cost efficient.
Private health insurance companies must also be responsible. As a society, we have to be the ones to demand quality care at a quality price. We can no longer allow them to price gouge and then turn around and disallow medical benefits that are medically necessary. Shop around for the best rate and policy if you are purchasing private health insurance. Contact your local state representative and voice your opinion about health insurance company practices. If you are an employee who receives health benefits from your employer, know that all employees have a voice in the decision making process regarding their health insurance. Make sure your employer knows your opinion.
Patients have to be informed about their own health. That responsibility has to be shouldered too. You cannot go into your doctor's office demanding certain tests and procedures be performed. It is a joint decision between you and your doctor on what is appropriate and necessary. Health care costs cannot be controlled if everyone demands tests or procedures that are not medically necessary. That is just not cost effective and it is irresponsible. If you are a smoker or overweight, you will probably pay more in premiums. It is only fair as those things are a lifestyle choice. Do what you need to do to live a healthy lifestyle. It will not only add years to your life but will aid you financially.
All of us have a responsibility to reform health care. Don't let the ranting and rhetoric from news media and politicians deter you from making the effort to make change. Approach health care reform in a positive, constructive way to promote positive change and we can all benefit.