According to the Associated Press, the Center For American Progress, a White House think tank, has recommended withdrawing an additional $385 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years to avoid cuts in Obamacare during the upcoming Congressional budget talks.
The Affordable Care Act already calls for a $716 billion transfer from Medicare to pay for the Act. If the think tank recommendation, which spares Medicaid and Obamacare from virtually any cuts, gets traction then a total of $1.1 trillion will be taken away from the Medicare system.
But is it really necessary to take funds from one healthcare program to fund another, even in light of compelling budget issues? We think there is another way to address the problem, one that Congress may not even know is available. Our solution would make the system more sustainable for beneficiaries today and tomorrow. It would also get providers on track to better weather reimbursement challenges for the foreseeable future.
It’s based on addressing the inefficiencies in our current healthcare system. The Institute of Medicine recently estimated that about $765 billion, or over 30 cents of every healthcare dollar, is wasted each year due to fraud, redundancy, inefficiency and excessive testing. After reviewing the report, TeleTracking surmised that roughly $300 billion of that waste can be recaptured by addressing inefficiency in the actual care delivery process alone. It’s a subject we’ve tackled on this blog before – see Eliminate Waste From Healthcare: TeleTracking Vision for Future.
For the record, that’s a $300 billion savings EVERY YEAR, not spaced over years into an infinite future.
Through real time capacity management that places virtually every operational task in a hospital’s care delivery process on line and accountable – in REAL TIME – so hospitals and health systems can eliminate unnecessary and costly wait times, align staffing and resource needs to capacity, and right size their entire physical processes to care demand.
At TeleTracking, we’ve proven time and again that capacity management automation saves money, makes money and delivers better care to those who need it. Automating the operational side of the hospital reduces unnecessary wait times and lowers patient length of stay, thus making room for severely ill or injured transfer patients. It frees up room and resources for more OR cases which bring revenue to the hospital’s bottom line. And it enables executive leadership to plan for anticipated demand, a capability which has been sorely missing from healthcare.
We believe this kind of thinking can help save our nation’s health system by helping hospitals maintain sufficient operating margins to provide access and care to those who need it. That includes not only to today’s seniors, but the additional 70 million Baby Boomers moving into retirement now.
The current health system most assuredly won’t survive without multiple sweeping changes – and the need for better efficiency in the care delivery process is neither divisive nor questionable. Healthcare reform is one of the biggest and most controversial fights on Capitol Hill in recent times. What reforms do you think will win, and which do you think will have the biggest impact?