• March 1, 2015

    Healthcare in America – Part II: A Changing System, a New Set of Rules

    Healthcare in America, Jared DuPree

    By Jared DuPree, PhD, MBA

    Note: This is the second article in a six part series by Dr. Jared DuPree addressing healthcare in America. Look for it in each issue of St. George Health & Wellness magazine through 2015.

    If you didn’t read the first article of this series, Click here to read Heathcare in America – Part I: A New Way of Thinking

    Unfortunately, new thought doesn’t always lead to change, especially in intricate systems like healthcare. However, we are currently experiencing a tipping point. Enough physicians, consumers, organizations, and scholars have brought enough innovative thought and demand for change to the table that change is actually occurring. There are several forces at play that are changing “the rules” of how we address healthcare.

    First, insurance companies realize that a minority of patients are costing them the majority of overall expenses. These companies are beginning to ask if we can somehow help people be healthier. This is important. This is also different. For the first time in our healthcare system, insurance companies are beginning to reimburse providers based on how healthy they can keep them.

    Second, because insurance companies want to reward providers for keeping patients healthy, they are changing how they reimburse. Insurance companies are beginning to pay providers better if they keep their patients healthier. Providers are both relieved and concerned. They are relieved because they can focus on what really works long-term. They are concerned because many insurance companies are reducing or even dropping reimbursement for costly procedures. Overall, the new rules incentivize providers to add more services to improve health. Research is suggesting that components like nutrition, fitness, behavioral health, relational health and even career planning or stress management can greatly reduce factors that lead to disease and improve overall wellness.

    From an economic standpoint, consumers are being given more options to pay for their healthcare. Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts combined with high deductible plans are becoming much more common. These type of accounts help people save money through tax benefits and also give them more choices on how to spend money on healthcare. In addition, it motivates consumers to be healthy because they don’t want to spend money on costly procedures.

    Finally, corporations are also becoming aware that healthy, happy employees improve productivity and company success. Many companies are forming in-house wellness programs or adding programs like LiVe Well, Alive & Well, and WholeFIT. They can’t rely on the healthcare system anymore; they are taking it on themselves because they realize it will improve the bottom line. When business gets involved, innovation often comes more rapidly.

    Overall, some of the new rules of the system are allowing healthcare to become what it should have been all along – a system that actually helps us be healthy and well. With so many doors opening and opportunities ahead, I hope we can take advantage of what is being offered and get it right.

    • New Rule #1: Insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid are extremely motivated to help patients be healthier because it saves them money.
    • New Rule #2: Providers are more motivated to provide services that improve overall health and wellness and prevent sickness.
    • New Rule #3: Health savings accounts, high deductible plans and concierge medicine is making it possible for consumers to save more money and get better care while incentivizing them to be healthy long-term.
    • New Rule #4: Corporations realize that healthy, happy employees means better productivity and company success; corporate and business innovations are leading to rapid improvement in how companies take care of employees which are leading to innovative services, technologies, and solutions.

     

    Next Issue: New thinking, new rules – what does it mean to me?

     

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  • January 1, 2015

    Healthcare in America – Part I: A New Way of Thinking

    Healthcare in America, Jared DuPree

    By Dr. Jared DuPree, PhD, MBA

    Note: This is the first article in a 6 part series by Dr. Jared DuPree addressing healthcare in America. Look for it in each issue of St. George Health & Wellness magazine through 2015.

    About eight years ago, I was discussing the future of healthcare with a colleague before ACA, before the economic crisis began in 2007, and before traditional healthcare began to shift. We both felt change was coming – we felt it as we went to conferences, read the research, spoke with providers and realized that a paradigm shift was about to occur. What were we noticing?

    First, we realized that many physicians wanted more. Most providers go to school with good intentions – to help people. Once in the real world, they realize the system doesn’t allow them to always help the way they were trained. Is treatment affordable? Will insurance reimburse? Will the treatment I think they need cover my costs? Am I addressing the real problem, or placing a Band-Aid on a deeper issue? Providers often get frustrated with the financial side of helping, because it can be difficult to help in the way they want to help.

    Second, we realized that many providers didn’t want to focus on symptoms anymore. They wanted to prevent symptoms by addressing overall health and wellness. If you asked providers what they wish they could do with their patients, many would say, “I wish I had an influence on them 10, 20, 30 years earlier to help them develop a lifestyle focused on well-balanced nutrition, realistic fitness, emotional wellness, healthy relationships, and a balanced life.” The way to truly help people is through helping them develop a lifestyle that protects, prevents, and strengthens in order to buffer future challenges.

    Third, we realized that more research and evidence suggested that many aspects of health and life are connected. Just as the cardiovascular system is connected to the neurosystem, which is connected to the lymphatic system, etc., we’re discovering that there are some very real connections beyond the traditional systems.

    Our mind, emotions, and even relationships are closely connected to our health. Can a relationship with a spouse or family member impact how a patient is overcoming cancer or coping with Alzheimer’s disease, (e.g., The Notebook)? Can the impact of obesity on heart disease really be impacted by addressing emotional eating influenced by grief, trauma or depression? Can back pain really be thwarted by helping someone address stress better in their life?

    Yes! It’s a very big yes. In fact, in some areas of treatment, addressing the emotional and relational side of that area is so important that it has become the gold standard of treatment – the tipping point.

    So, what does it all mean? Physicians are developing options that give consumers the freedom to be treated as a whole person (mind, body, emotion), working together with other providers as a team as they consider long-term health and make these options affordable.

    We are only starting to see the rumblings of all this. Some local examples include the LiveWell center at Intermountain, Alive & Well, and WholeFIT. In fact, I was speaking with the founder of Alive & Well recently and his wish was that St. George businesses, consumers and others could “understand how important it is to think about health differently – we need to help everyone see that our minds, bodies, emotions and relationships are all connected to our health. People deserve to be healthy, and what that really means is that people deserve to reap the benefits of healthy eating, fitness, connecting relationships, and a healthy body. There are many of us that want to help them do that.”

    • New World/New Way Factor #1: Physicians and providers want the freedom to treat people the best way possible.
    • New World/New Way Factor #2: Physicians and providers want to focus more on prevention and long-term health strategies by addressing lifestyle, not just symptoms.
    • New World/New Way Factor #3: Physicians and providers realize that in order to truly help people, providers need to work together and treat the entire person, bodies, minds, emotions, relationships and overall lifestyle.

     

    Next issue: Healthcare in America – A Changing System.

     

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