March 25, 2017 marked the first Healthcare Economic Summit at Concordia University Wisconsin. The event brought together healthcare administrators, doctors, providers, and government leaders to discuss solutions to the rising cost of healthcare. The event began with a roundtable talk with Governor Scott Walker, University President Dr. Patrick Ferry, and Dean of the Batterman School of Business Dr. Dan Sem. The discussion centered around pricing transparency and consumer focus in the healthcare markets.
With large shifts happening in the world of healthcare, it is vital for there to be open and honest communication between the leadership, the healthcare providers, and most importantly, the consumers.
It was at this same event that President Ferry announced that the new academic building will be named the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center. This building will serve as the future home of the Batterman School of business.
Many others spoke at this event as well. John Torinus Jr., author of The Grassroots Revolution and The Company that Solved Healthcare spoke about business solutions to many of these problems, in the context of a self-insurance model used at companies.
One major concern is the lack of understanding and transparency of costs. Many health providers fail to understand what operations and other services they provide truly cost them to perform. Without understanding the base cost, there is a broken pricing strategy. This is further challenged by the relationship between the health provider and the insurer that pays for this. The health providers, in an effort to ensure that they cover their losses, will claim more costs. The insurance providers meanwhile are looking to deny as much of the claim as possible. This negotiation leads to a system where price transparency is impossible.
Torinus instead suggests that companies essentially self-insure their employees healthcare costs which allows the company to negotiate and work on solutions with the health provider. This system can encourage health systems to focus on validating their costs, and thus both parties are able to better understand and control the transaction. This system helps to close the gap between the person receiving the treatment, and the person paying for this treatment, further allowing honest feedback in the marketplace, and an ability of healthcare consumers to shop for the best healthcare value.
Another speaker who further echoed this relationship between company and provider was Eric Haberichter, CEO of Access HealthNet, a company that bundles medical services. He focused on the goals of creating partnerships that benefit the company, the consumer, and the providers by helping to create reliable pricing structures.
EVP and President of Aurora Health Care Medical Group Dr. Jeffrey Bahr spoke about how integrated healthcare can help lower costs and increase quality in the lives of the people in the plans. CUW Alumnus and President of Mercy Medical Center Jeremy Normington-Slay agreed that these systems are important to help improve peoples lives in a lower cost way.
Additionally, Valley Ellihausen, another CUW Alumnus and COO of the West Bend School District spoke on how she transitioned the West Bend schools to a self-insured model, and how that has improved healthcare and lowered costs.
To read more about the event that day click HERE