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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Oct 5, 2017
Life has changed and so must we comes to mind as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Frank Astor, Chief Administrative Officer Zach Bostock, and Chief Financial Officer Rick Wyles bring Value Based Care to Southwest Florida.

Healthcare in our nation is migrating from a traditional fee-for-service repair shop mentality to a capitated payment model focused on prevention and health.  Quality will improve and expenditures will decrease for all.

The perverse economic motivation for healthcare systems and physicians in the past was based on sickness. Namely, the sicker a person or a community is, the more office visits, hospitalizations, pharmaceutical costs, and other expenditures.  Paradoxically, the unforeseen consequence of this financial stimulus deemphasized prevention, which is effective in about 80% of illnesses.  Even though the stated altruistic motivation of all healthcare professionals is to care for the sick, behavioral economics comes into play, inadvertently diminishing our focus on prevention and wellness.    

Our three colleagues and their teams are collaborating with Medicare, Florida Blue, WellMed, and other insurers to change reimbursement to focus on prevention and avoid sickness.  We know many illnesses can be prevented.  Consider diabetes or high blood pressure in overweight people.  Both conditions can be markedly improved or even cured by weight loss or better yet, never gaining the weight in the first place. 

Imagine children early in life with their parents developing healthy habits of exercising, eating well, having purpose, and other attributes contributing to a healthy life-style.  These are some of the goals of the Blue Zones Project.  About one-third of Southwest Florida is aware of the Blue Zones Project with over 10% of us believing our health and lifestyle have been positively affected.  Healthy people enjoy life and spend less on health care.  

The burden of sickness will decrease for individuals and our community, as value-based care is enacted.  By the way, healthy habits are contagious.  If you associate with healthy people, you are more likely to be healthy.  Conversely, if you socialize with smokers and markedly overweight folks, you are more likely to suffer the same healthcare consequences. 

People who embrace value-based care will be offered a coach to suggest healthy life-styles.  Because approximately 5% of people utilize 50% of healthcare, a special emphasis will help these folks not only with their health but also their lifestyles.  Smoking cessation, exercise, weight loss as appropriate, compliance, mental/emotional needs and other worthwhile endeavors for well-being will all be supported. 

Goal congruence with the patient, family, and care team leads everyone to a longer, happier, and healthier life.

Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.