Healthcare Part VI: Interesting Comments

Excerpts from an e-newsletter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association [(c) 2007]. I thought this was interesting, from someone who knows the innards of the system

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This was the primary discussion lead by keynote speaker, Nicholas Wolter, MD, CEO, Billings Clinic, Montana, at HFMA’s CFO Summit sponsored by Cerner Corporation.

According to Dr. Wolter, “There are very few of us who are investing in mental health, geriatrics, and chronic care management. Instead, we are investing in those few services that produce most of the profit – new cancer centers, new cardiac hospitals, new orthopedic facilities. Likewise, we are seeing more and more physicians choosing higher-income specialties instead of family practice and internal medicine, and becoming direct competitors of hospitals.”

He continued his concern saying, “Can we continue down this path where distorted reimbursement structures are leading us? Or is there a way to align the interests of hospitals and physicians that will better serve both groups – and the consumers they are committed to care for?”

Dr. Wolter was not posing a rhetorical question with these words but was looking for practical answers from the roomful of senior financial executives gathered at the day and a half summit. Given the rather candid audience, he heard some surprising answers – along with a lot of caveats and concerns on the topic from the group.

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Your thoughts? Follow up comments?