Hospitals and Insurers Working Together to Reduce Health Costs

The UCLA Health System is working hard to establish a blueprint for reducing health care costs up to 30% over the next five years.

The UCLA Health System is working hard to establish a blueprint for reducing health care costs up to 30% over the next five years.

For patients who have rare conditions, care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime, if not more. The UCLA Health System, a health care organization known for assisting and caring for this subgroup of patients, is now instituting a new system to control the cost of care. By creating a “medical home” for young patients with complex diseases, they have effectively reduced health care costs by ensuring that doctors “spend more time with patients and work more closely with parents to coordinate care.” So far, this program has resulted in reducing emergency room visits by approximately 50%.

The efforts by the UCLA Health System have not gone unnoticed; in fact, private insurers, employers and government officials are providing urgency to these efforts. More importantly, many experts believe that the momentum from these efforts will continue regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court declares health care reform constitutional. Moreover, the efforts by the UCLA Health System are spurring other medical organizations to jump on board and begin instituting initiatives to rein in health care costs as well. The Cleveland Clinic’s recently launched a program whereby diabetic patients can take part in group visits.

The UCLA Health System is also trying to enact change from within. The organization strongly encourages employees to get involved with wellness programs and has even gone so far as to remove all fried foods from the cafeteria.

Will these efforts help to truly transform care? There are believers and skeptics, but only time will tell. The fruits of these labors will not be seen overnight. Regardless of the outcome of these programs on health care costs, it’s evident that there exist health care organizations that are focused on making health care more affordable.

To read more about UCLA’s Health System, please visit their website.