How Hospitals Are Tackling Costs

Julie Shenkman
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Changes are inevitable for the health care industry as hospitals and medical facilities face increasing pressure to reduce health care costs for patients. The reality though is that hospitals and health systems are businesses with a bottom line that needs to be protected and safeguarded to provide quality health care. The efforts to balance the task of reducing costs while maintaining financial viability requires creative and strategic planning for health care facilities and patients.

An analysis of administrative processes and procedures should be a priority for health care facilities. An evaluation of risk-based contracting is a necessary step when striving to reduce health care costs, according to Erin McCann with Healthcare IT News. Medical facilities need to make sure the right business model matches the resources needed to manage and provide quality care to risk-based populations. Analyze resources used daily and evaluate the cost per person to determine a business model and strategic plans that focus on quality care that is affordable for the facility and the patients.

The new demand for access to health care and the impact of the Affordable Care Act continue to increase health care costs at an alarming rate. One strategy to lower hospital bills for patients and decrease the cost of procedures for providers is to provide transparency. Medical charges for patients are often obscure and fluctuate frequently. Medical facilities should outline clear and concise costs for the patient after examining administrative, clinical and financial data. Examine profitability to create a menu of health care costs as more and more new patients flood through the doors of health care facilities.

Patients may also become more responsible in facilitating health care costs and managing hospital bills. The need to shop for insurance and lower insurance premiums becomes a necessity when the cost of health care has led some patients to bankruptcy, even with insurance coverage. States are making strides though in lowering some costs of medical procedures with Medicaid. In fact, since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, premiums have decreased by approximately 15 percent as of 2015. Hospitals and medical care facilities may be taking the brunt of these costs. Even though an influx of new patients can increase revenue, hospitals continue to balance the profit with the cost of hiring qualified nurses and physicians to meet the demands of quality care.

The use of technology and automated systems and appointment setters may help cut health care costs without risking a loss of resources for patients. The health care industry continues though to wrestle with how to meet the demand of patients due to the Affordable Care Act, reduce the cost of health care and maintain a profit that maintains the business model.


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