Iowa Specialty Hospital

Notes from Steve

May 13, 2019

Re-imagining the healthcare delivery system for the near future is nothing short of interesting; perhaps even scary.  I was at a meeting in Iowa City yesterday with a group of 7 other CEO’s and our discussion centered on the on-going need for inpatient beds.  They were talking about a proposed federal plan - the REH (rural emergency hospital) program where a rural Critical Access Hospital would close its inpatient unit and do only outpatient and emergency care for cost (plus a percentage).   With Critical Access Hospital reimbursement we are at 99% of costs currently.  There was interest from the group to move towards this program but I’m not so quick to jump on this bandwagon for either Clarion or Belmond yet.  It doesn’t feel like the right thing for us.

What is the right thing though? At the QEM’s this week I’m talking about the move by at least 3 major and powerful companies (Amazon, Apple and Wal-Mart) to disrupt the delivery of healthcare in America.  Everything from wearables (Apple watches that track your vitals) … to Wal-Mart designating only a few major leading hospitals (like the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo) to care for their employees … to Amazon Prime  taking over the marketplace for EMR, materials and health insurance.  These companies have more money and power than most of the others combined and when they say jump America asks “how high?”.  One of my slides in my QEM talk was the comment “compete or augment”.  Our big question going forward is “how will Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics augment itself to work with the future structure of American healthcare?”

When a network representative comments to me about Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics playing checkers to the bigger systems playing chess, I have to stop and wonder if the 3 big companies I mentioned are playing some other game all together.  The eventual day of reckoning will come some day and the delivery of healthcare as we know it will not be recognizable.  We, the checkers players will come out ahead … checkmate, baby. 

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