Curing What Ails the Healthcare System: Shared Responsibility

Recently, I’ve written about how cost-cutting alone will not keep healthcare organizations in the black. We’ve heard it from analysts, and recently, article in HealthLeaders, we heard it from Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

In the article, Dr. Brawley cites staggering statistics about how much we spend, and will continue to spend, on healthcare and lays out what he thinks is a solution: promoting shared responsibility. And that means everyone: doctors, healthcare systems, insurers, drug companies, lawyers, patients, etc.

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How Will Recent Healthcare Legislation Disrupt How Labs Conduct Business?

Over the past couple of years, I have often written about the challenges confronting hospitals and health systems as a result of the Affordable Care Act. And now, new legislative changes in healthcare laws are impacting another segment of the healthcare supply chain: laboratories.

Two weeks ago in New Orleans, the 19th Annual Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management brought together 800 clinical laboratory professionals and pathologists. One of the major topics covered was the legislation passed by Congress and recently signed into law by President Obama called “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” (PAMA). In his keynote address, Robert L. Michel, founder of the Executive War College, said that PAMA is the single biggest change to the clinical laboratory industry in more than 25 years.

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CFOs and the Supply Chain: A winning strategy

Over the past couple of years, in this space you’ve seen the discussion about supply chain as a strategic asset for healthcare organizations, and how important it is that those in the C-suite understand and view it as such.  A recent Dow Jones/Deloitte Risk & Compliance Journal report titled “How CFOs Are Reshaping Supply Chains” makes this case very compellingly.

The report notes that while both chief risk officers (CROs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) have long been involved with supply chain oversight, finance chiefs—with their eyes on cost controls, risk management and the levers of working capital—are increasingly involving themselves.

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What the Future Holds for Healthcare

This year, 2013, will be an incredibly busy year in healthcare. With just one more year before the largest parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) take effect, healthcare organizations are preparing for the biggest changes in healthcare in more than a generation.

Since the actual legislation is 900+ pages, I don’t know too many people who have read the entire thing. That is probably why there have been a plethora of summaries published since the act passed.

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Sustainability Can Really Pay Off

The core mandates of the Affordable Care Act are to increase access to healthcare, while decreasing costs and limiting waste. Every U.S. healthcare organization today is looking for ways to align with healthcare reform in order to meet these goals. While companies are instituting a number of different initiatives, there is one that we believe strongly in that has recently been getting more and more interest from the industry – sustainability.

According to a recent study from the Commonwealth Fund, sustainability initiatives could save the healthcare industry up to $5.4 billion over five years, and $15 billion over 10 years. Those are some really big numbers.

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Year in Review and Look Ahead

This week seems like a good time to reflect back on 2012 and the healthcare industry. In a year full of newsworthy events, the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act stands out as one of the most notable. The high court’s decision ended speculation and provided forward direction and greater clarity for the healthcare industry.

The impact is felt widely throughout the industry and by all healthcare executives. I recently read an article by HealthLeaders about itssecond annual CFO Exchange. For the exchange, HealthLeaders brought together 30 finance leaders from hospitals and systems nationwide for a discussion about how their organizations were “tackling some of the more demanding healthcare mandates in history while maintaining a grip on their purse strings.”

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A Change in the Wind

I suspect many of us in this industry have been having the same types of conversations over the last three weeks.  Now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is moving forward, we all will continue what will certainly be a long journey towards changing the way healthcare does business.  Value-based purchasing, creation of accountable care organizations and national bundled payment pilots will force healthcare to strike the balance between cost and quality, without sacrificing either.

To me, this change in how we do business means that some of the truths we have always known need to be challenged.  For example, in the purchased services world

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The Supreme Court has spoken: Now what?

Like many of you, I was in a meeting Thursday morning when one of the smart phones pinged with news of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. And, I would imagine, like many of you, we stopped what we were doing to talk about it. No surprise there since this has been on the minds of all of us in healthcare and of many, if not most, of our fellow Americans. After all, no less perhaps than the future makeup of U.S. healthcare was at stake.

So, now that there is a decision, what does it mean? Well, regardless of political leanings or personal opinions, there are two main points of consensus, in my opinion:

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