Healthcare Blog

Posts Tagged ‘change’

Healthcare Economics: Why this stuff doesn’t work the way you think it does — and how to fix it

Posted by capcityspeakers on April 19, 2017

by Joe Flower

albatross-close-up

[This is a letter I sent to Gary Cohn, appointed by President Trump to head the National Economic Council and, among other things, come up with a plan for reforming healthcare. Formerly president of Goldman Sachs, Cohn may be a wizard at finance, but healthcare economics are wildly different and famously opaque.

So I thought I would help him out. As things are going with the Republicans’ health plan on Capitol Hill, Trump may need a Plan B.]

Healthcare economics are weird, opaque, and convoluted. The business of healthcare is unlike any other business. The politicians and pundits arguing about how to fix healthcare in the United States don’t understand what they are trying to fix. Neither do you, probably, because almost no one does.

So let me help with this explainer. Here’s the promise: This will be non-partisan, factual, and some parts at least will be different from anything you have heard before. This is a version of a letter I sent to the White House economists charged with coming up the new, better replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Subject: Your best eight minutes on healthcare economics.

  • Why healthcare economics are different.
  • What would work

Who I am: An independent healthcare author and analyst since Jimmy Carter’s administration, speaker, consultant across the industry at all levels, including insurers, hospitals, device manufacturers, employers, the Veterans Administration, the pharmaceutical industry, the World Health Organization, the Department of Defense, a real insider.

Core problem: The core problem in fixing healthcare is the actual cost of medical care.

  • Healthcare in the U.S. by any measure costs about twice what it should and is twice more than in most other countries.
  • Medical prices are completely disconnected from the cost of production.
  • Few medical providers even know the true cost of their products, their tests, therapies, and surgeries because they reverse-engineer their prices based on reimbursements
  • By a number of highly respected analyses at least one third of that (well over $1 trillion this year) is waste, paying for things that we don’t need and that don’t help and often hurt.
  • Solving just the federal part of this would completely wipe out the deficit.

Trying to “take care of everybody” will always be impossible politically and economically as long as healthcare costs twice what it should and wastes trillions of dollars.

Solvable: This is a solvable problem. If we manage to stop paying for waste, over $1 trillion per year in unneeded overtreatment will disappear. Prices will drop to something like a true market price. This will not happen overnight, but it could happen over five years with vigorous implementation.

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Paying It Forward

Posted by capcityspeakers on December 1, 2016

by Chad Hymas

soldier

Most of us know what the above title means. And I’m hoping that we have all had the opportunity to do this. It is so simple to do that I think it would happen more often if we just thought about it.

I have a friend that works at a restaurant and he told me that every week, a widower comes in for dinner and, while there, he’ll look around for a family (usually a large family having dinner) and when he goes to pay his bill, he’ll ask the hostess if $75.00 will cover their bill. When she says yes, he leaves her enough to cover the tab and the tip. After he leaves, and has been gone for several minutes, she goes over and tells the family what had happened – that their bill has been taken care of. They are completely surprised!   And so very grateful.

He also left enough money for them to have dessert or take a couple of pies home!! They look around trying to find this person, but she told them he had left quite a while ago. All he asked is that they enjoy their dinner and that if they ever have a chance to help someone (in other words, pay it forward), they do.

I actually see this all the time – I see people at a grocery store tell the cashier as she gives her a hundred bill, to have that go for the groceries for the woman behind her, who has a few kids with her and a lot of groceries.

I see lot of this kind of generosity at the airport; especially people wanting to buy a cup of coffee or dinner for servicemen who have just been deployed. I had the opportunity to do this a few weeks ago and posted it on Facebook:

It never fails. I always run into these selfless people as I travel, especially through Atlanta. And it usually goes something like this:

ME: Sir/Gentlemen, I simply want to thank you for the freedom you grant me. May I shake your hand and buy you lunch/dinner?

SOLDIER: [Before speaking to me, they USUALLY ALWAYS drop to one knee, my level. I never ask them to. They just do it. Talk about respect. I’m not saying I deserve it, nor request it. I’m simply saying it is truly my honor to meet them and show my gratitude; and, as if it is ingrained in their DNA, they passionately demonstrate this type of love by flipping the scenario and treat me as though it is an honor for them to serve, meet and protect me. They don’t even know who I am! Names have not yet been exchanged. But I know who they are. They are heroes! Can you imagine what kind of a country we would have if we were all like this? Had this kind of selflessness towards others? This kind of compassion and unconditional love? This desire to serve and sacrifice?]

“Sir, it is our pleasure to serve you. We are fine. You don’t need to buy us dinner.”

ME: Please, I insist. I would love to break bread with you.

SOLDIER: “Ok sir, but know that this is not necessary.”

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The Masterpiece Of A Moment

Posted by capcityspeakers on November 23, 2016

by Kathy Brown

We need to live One day at a time and make it a masterpiece. If you never want to be lonely, build bridges instead of walls. Being lonely takes its toll on your overall health both mentally and physically. Relationships help us multiply our joys and cut our sorrows in half when shared.

Our moments are all we have as we are not promised a tomorrow. Live fully in each moment making something better because you were fully present “in it.” Nobody can help everybody but everybody can help somebody.

Remember that great people are ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of commitment. They persevere when times get tough. Difficulties come not to obstruct but to instruct. Learn the lesson and move on.

Friends are God’s way of taking care of us. Nurture your relationships with those people who encourage, uplift, and inspire you to reach your full potential! Your moments become memories which can last a lifetime and then live on in those left to enjoy them.

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Will You Wear Out? Or Rust Out?

Posted by capcityspeakers on November 9, 2016

by Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW

After foot surgery last November, I was forced to sit for months while the bones in my left foot healed.  A relatively minor procedure, I was amazed how long it took me to recover and get moving again.  It seemed that everyday I was sitting around, I had new aches, pains and stiffness.  I mentioned this to the Dr. on a recent visit and he said, “You can either wear out or rust out. People that sit all the time rust out.”

I thought about what he said and it is really true.  The longer I sat around, the less I felt like doing. Because my foot would swell up whenever I tried to be active, it was an easy excuse to sit.  But I quickly realized that everything was starting to break down. Now my back and neck hurt, my legs were stiff and I had no energy.  Realizing that I was rusting, I forced myself to get up, get to the pool and start moving.

Now I try to do at least 10,000 steps per day and weight training twice per week.  I can tell that my stamina is coming back and I have dropped the 10 pounds I gained over the winter.  Talking with other folks a lot older than me, all say that the key is to be active.  Keep moving, and fight the rust.

Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW, is the People Pro.  A workplace cutlure expert, she offers keynotes, seminars and consultation to increase teamwork and productivity.  For more information on her programs and services, please contact Capitol City Speakers Bureau.

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You Are the Epicenter of Generosity

Posted by capcityspeakers on October 13, 2016

by John O’Leary

john-oleary-receiptgenerosity

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

As a little boy I frequently attracted attention.

My skin hadn’t yet fully healed after the fire. My body was wrapped in bandages. My core temperature was difficult to control, so my sisters constantly fanned me as I sat in my wheelchair.

And, as one of six kids, when my family arrived, we made quite a boisterous entrance!

I was reminded of those days, those “entrances,” those stares, when I heard about an experience Cynthia Tipton had at dinner with her family at a restaurant in St. Louis recently. (Read the full story here.) Let me share it with you.

Her son, Noland, is 10 and lives with high-functioning autism. It can be difficult to control his emotions; on this day a little teasing from his sister set him off.

Noland started screaming. Cynthia quickly knelt beside him, stroked his back and began whispering in his ear, hoping to calm him before other families’ dinners were interrupted.

It was not working.

The screams intensified.

A few more minutes of soothing her son passed before the crying quieted, Noland relaxed and the other families turned back to their own tables.

Watching their waitress approach, Cynthia was certain there’d been complaints. In the past, she’d been asked to leave and assumed the request was coming again. She readied herself for the awkward exit when the waitress handed the family their bill for dinner.

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Why Did Healthcare Inflation Slow Down? Why Does It Matter?

Posted by capcityspeakers on August 11, 2016

by Joe Flower

The costs of healthcare turned a corner in 2009. You can see it on any graph of National Health Expenditures, whether by dollars or dollars per capita or percentage of the economy. There is a decided downward bend in the trend line between 2008 and 2009. The line then stays nearly flat, close to or below the increase in the general economy.

This Great Flattening is really interesting, but the reasons why it’s happening are even more interesting — because they tell us something about healthcare’s future.

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation just put out the latest report on this. The line blipped up a bit in 2014, the first year of the full implementation of Obamacare. According to the RWJF analysis, though, it then resumed its near-flat trajectory in 2015. The Great Flattening is not over.

Why is this happening?

Healthcare commentators have given three competing reasons for it. At first, most dismissed it as an epicycle of the Great Recession. Later others claimed that its continuation showed that Obamacare was working.

I and some others had a different idea: The Great Flattening, at least in part and increasingly as time went on, has been the first sign that structural changes in how we pay for healthcare are beginning to make a difference in how much we pay for healthcare.

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The Tug of Time

Posted by capcityspeakers on June 2, 2016

by Kathy Brown

Have you felt the tug of “too much to do in too little time” in too many areas of your life?

Temporary is the new “normal” so change is constant. That can be very wearing on our stressed out coping skills as we constantly adjust our lives to fit the variety of needs of our family and work place. Did lack of sleep and time to eat, much less cook something nutritious, get mentioned yet? Throw a pet into the mix just to keep things interesting. Let’s not forget our aging parents who may live near enough to be of some help OR need help themselves. How’s all that working for you so far?

Goal setting should be a lifestyle or it can simply be a tool to ensure progress. We need to constantly learn more efficient ways to work smarter not harder as our areas of responsibility increase . Collaboration of our time and resources both personally and professionally can set a positive emotional environment where we help one another achieve a greater balance while keeping each other accountable! Your joys get multiplied and your challenges get cut in half when you share your needs and goals with others who will support and encourage you.

Laughter ignites a healing balm of happy that soothes our soul and lubricates our lungs. It is both contagious and addicting. Smiles can infect others who willingly join your group of family members and friends who can then start an epidemic of joy. This will stamp out “hurry sickness” which thrives in the petrie dish of doing too much. Start managing and investing your time and energy into things that have the most significance to you. Take a humor break. Leave a legacy of love and laughter. Just be yourself. Everyone else is taken. :-)

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The Secret to Success? Could be a good nights sleep

Posted by capcityspeakers on May 26, 2016

by Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW

matty

What do Matthew McConaughey, Cameron Diaz and Warren Buffet have in common?

They all believe strongly in the value of a good nights sleep.  It may surprise you to learn that chronic sleep deprivation significantly affects your health, performance, safety, and pocketbook.

Some of the consequences of missing your shuteye include:

  •  Decreased performance and alertness.  Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as  one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime  alertness by as much as 32%.
  •  Memory and cognitive impairment.  Decreased alertness will impair your memory  and your ability to think and process information.
  •  Stress and relationship problems.  Let’s face it, you just might be crabby.
  •  Poor quality of life.  You may be unable to participate in activities that requre  attention or physical stamina.
  •  Occupational injury.  There is more than a twofold higher risk of sustaining an  occupational injury when fatigued.

Sleep just might make you more attractive as well. Swedish researcher say there’s an important link between sleep and your physical appearance.  In a study in the British Medical Journal, researcher John Axelsson and his team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that sleep-deprived individuals appear less healthy, more tired, and less attractive than those who have received a full night’s worth of sleep.

“Sleep is the body’s natural beauty treatment,” Axelsson siad.  “It’s probably more effective than any other treatment you could buy.”

Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW is the People Pro.  A workplace culture expert, she offers keynotes, seminars and consultation to increase teamwork and productivity.  For more information on her programs and services, please contact Capitol Speakers Bureau.

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Three simple rules in life

Posted by capcityspeakers on May 19, 2016

3 simple rules

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10 Keys to Lifelong Happiness

Posted by capcityspeakers on May 12, 2016

by Chad Hymas

I recently came across a terrific blog post claiming “The 15 Things To Give Up To Be Happy.”  Although I agreed with most of them, some of them I didn’t.  I don’t believe that those same 15 things will work for everyone.  Nor do I believe that the 10 that I will share with you will work for everyone either.

I get asked on a daily basis how I am so happy despite my circumstances.  How did I remain positive through all the changes that were taking place that surrounded my accident?  Let me answer you this, I am happy in spite of my circumstances.  Because of the things that I have learned on this journey, mostly the last 11 years of my life, that I would have never experienced otherwise.  These experiences have shaped my life and made me who I have become today.  There were times right after my accident that I am not proud of and I wish to not even recollect, but throughout that time and more recent times, these are the things that I have found truly work for me.

1. Know Yourself.  How many times have we heard “no one will love you until you learn to love yourself” or “nobody knows you the way you do”?

So get to know the right-now-real you, both the good and the bad, and own it. Write down your qualities, characteristics, values, strengths, and weaknesses. What makes you happy? What drives you crazy?

The good news is that if you don’t like certain aspects of yourself right now, you have it in your control to change that. But to change something you first have to know what you’re working with. So do some serious soul-searching and figure that out!

2. Learn to say “NO!” At the end of the day, it’s about how you say “no”, rather than the fact you’re saying no, that affects the outcome. After all, you have your own priorities and needs, just like everyone has his/her own needs. Saying no is about respecting and valuing your time and space. Say no is your prerogative.

3. Accept What Is.  One of the greatest sources of misery in my experience, is refusing to accept what is. How often do waste your time with questions such as: What if I had done that differently? What if yesterday had turned out differently? Stop turning your back on reality.

If you’re happy, accept that you’re happy. You don’t try to justify that feeling. If you’re upset, accept that you’re upset, don’t pretend you’re not. If you made a mistake embrace your imperfection, don’t beat yourself up.

As you begin to accept what is, you will find that your experiences are exactly what you need at that moment. Sure, life won’t always go according to plan, but at the end you will survive, one experience stronger.

4. Visit a quiet place. Libraries, museums, gardens, and places of worship provide islands of peace and calm in today’s frantic world. Find a quiet place near your house and make it your secret getaway.

5. Find What Makes You Tick.  Some people may not care to admit this, but I honestly believe that we each have something that makes us tick.

While it’s true some people just discover what they love, many of us have to do some searching. Not knowing what makes you happy, is the surest way to remain stuck in a miserable state.

Finding what you enjoy to do is fairly easy. If you enjoy a certain activity (assuming it’s legal of course) continue doing it. I realize that is overly simplistic, but you get the idea.

Don’t worry about what your family or friends think, but rather focus on what brings you joy. I’m not suggesting you be selfish or hurtful in your pursuits, but it’s important you take care of yourself so you can give your fullest to the world.

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