I was in Orlando April 22nd and 23rd attending the Florida Institute of CPA's Annual Health Care Industry Conference (www.FICPA.org).
There, I had the opportunity to interview Micky Smith, CEO of Oak Hill Hospital, Lee Huntley, CEO of Central Florida Health Alliance and John Kolosky, COO of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. Excerpts from that meeting were published last week. I caught up with Mr. Smith, Mr. Huntley and Mr. Kolosky recently and posed one final question. Thanks for reading FHIweekly.
Proponents of Obama Care predict that 21st century healthcare providers will meet the current challenges and that today's healthcare practices and facilities can not only survive but perhaps even prosper.
And of course the cynics are predicting runaway costs, unfunded liabilities and a nation headed towards mediocrity, a lower standard of living and crushing debts.
Who is closer to the truth, the buoyant optimists or the doomsday prophets?
Mr. Smith stated, "As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The most powerful engine in healthcare reform is data transparency. Look how the rate of hospital acquired infections in Florida has plummeted since the state began publishing that information on the web. As cost, pricing, and quality data is shared with the consumer, ultimately at the physician level, we will see dramatic improvements in our health care system. If for no other reason that the poor performers will disappear."
Mr Huntley added, "I'd say it is too soon to tell. It's true that as an industry, health care is expensive, highly regulated and cannot afford itself as millions of boomers enter the bounds of Medicare while at the same time trying to cover 60 million uninsured. I'm biased as a provider of care. Too much too fast with too little input by experts into big government's solution. On the other hand, Obama tried. I can tell you this, healthcare won't prosper, especially as funds are reallocated from one topic to another, without regulatory relief. There are a lot of good ideas though, inside healthcare reform: e.g. bundling, emphasis on primary care and more. But one not there is individuals and society taking responsibility for their own health status. Heck, we can't even regulate fat, sodium ridden fast food. Sorry to be all over the place on this one. It's just too soon to tell. My gut: 40% buoyant optimism, 60% pessimism."
Mr. Kolosky responded, "This is more related to the riots in Greece than we would like to think. We simply cannot afford the way we have always done things. The Bad News: We, as a society, are living beyond our means, and runaway health care costs are one manifestation. The Good News: We, as a society, have faced bigger challenges head on and addressed them. So why be optimistic? When we face these challenges and deal with them, we are better off as a society. This will not be painless. When we take "waste" out of the system in, for example, administrative bureaucracy, we will cost jobs and changes to people's careers. When we take duplicative or unnecessary services out of the system, we will cost someone money. When we hold people accountable for performance, it may be revelatory and somewhat painful. However, we will adjust and be better off than we were before. More importantly, patients will be better off than before. So, in the end, I'm optimistic.......but as my doctor sometimes says "this may hurt a bit"."