Despite the rising costs of healthcare, there are many ways hospitalists can address cost savings. Some suggestions from Dr Flansbaum, Society of Hospital Medicine Public Policy Committee member, include: involving patients in shared decision-making, utilizing generic medicine when possible, and adhering to transitional-care standard. An article in The Hospitalist reports:
Alarms about our nation’s healthcare costs have been sounding for well over a decade. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), spending on U.S. healthcare doubled between 1999 and 2011, climbing to $2.7 trillion from $1.3 trillion, and now represents 17.9% of the United States’ GDP.1
“The medical care system is bankrupting the country,” Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), based in Washington, D.C., says bluntly. A four-decade-long upward spending trend is “unsustainable,” he wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine with Chapin White, PhD, a senior health researcher at HSC.2
Recent reports suggest that rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs are rendering the price of healthcare untenable for the average consumer. A 2011 RAND Corp. study found that, for the average American family, the rate of increased costs for health care had outpaced growth in earnings from 1999 to 2009.3 And last year, for the first time, the cost of health care for a typical American family of four surpassed $20,000, the annual Milliman Medical Index reported.4
Should hospitalists be concerned, professionally and personally, about these trends? Absolutely, say hospitalist leaders who spoke with The Hospitalist.
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