The Utah health system needs doctoring

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  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 2:55 p.m.

    The problem is that when people do come up with new ideas, the government regulates them out of existence.

    For example, a NY Dr. set up his clinic like a gym membership. For a set monthly fee you see the Dr. as often as you wanted. He was shut down.

    A few years ago some healthcare companies started to operate "grocery store" clinics where a you could go to see a Dr for minor problems and be taken care of for $25, with or without insurance.

    Outside of that you have clinics that can handle off hour non-emergency care.

    The Doctors don't need to be educated, the public does. How do you teach people to question what procedures and tests are being called for?

  • Mike in Texas Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    It doesn't help with medical costs when you are victimized by for profit hospitals that charge $600 for two pills that would cost about 10$ each outside of the hospital. That actually happened to me. And, there is no way to challenge that kind of greed motivated billing without them ruining your credit.

    We need to return to a non profit model like we had in the past. Make larger faith based institutions responsibe for running them as consideration for the significant tax breaks that they get on donation revenue.

    As for the "systems" approach, you might get some efficiency improvements which will reduce costs, but it is unlikely that any of those cost savings would be passed on to consumers.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 18, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    Heard a very interesting interview on NPR, (Sept 19) the Diane Rehm Show, with a Dr. Marty Makary a surgeon at Johns Hopkins. Near the end of the interview he talked about the corporatization of hospitals and the pressure on Drs. to recommend and perform unnecessary procedures to boost profits. He also talked about the lack of transparency in the healthcare system which can lead to people getting substandard care and higher costs.

    Drs. like Makary need to be a part of an honest conversation in improving and reducing the costs of healthcare. A Dr. I know believes ACA is a step in the right direction, probably the best we could do with the current political constraints, but would've preferred single-payer.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    Dr. Swanson,
    there is a very large obstacle to the reform you propose - it's called Obamacare.

    Obamacare does nothing about the delivery of health care in our nation, it just makes everyone buy insurance for it, and fattens up the insurance companies as a result. Why do you think they opposed Hillarycare in 1993 but did not oppose Obamacare in 2009?

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    The doctor is correct. Fundamental changes are needed It is naive to think that doctors receive better care than the rest of us. The ACA is unsustainable financially and has a myriad of unintended consequences. The ACA was supported by insurance companies because the president bought them off.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    The real problem is simple. It MONEY or more specifically the desire of some people and companies to acquire as much as they can of the stuff.

    Until for-profit insurance companies are out of the picture, nothing will change. And since for-profit insurance lobbies are so strong and able to purchase the votes of so many state and Federal legislators, nothing will change.

    ACA is the only step that has made toward changing any of that -- but because of the political power of for-profit organizations, it has been gutted of any effective solutions.

    It does not need to be repealed, but it does need to be amended and set up in a manner that will help all of us. It might even be possible to help the bottom lines of insurance companies.

    But GOP ideology and their desire to obey their corporate owners will make that very, very difficult.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2012 8:21 a.m.

    Health care is complex with no easy answers. Most of us envision an artificial world where we are in control. We budget money for every expense. We budget a health insurance premium and think of that as "heath care", knowing that if we get sick, we have limited our extra expense to the deductible. That is not health care and that is not good policy.

    The doctor made some valid points. A "systems" approach would include the entire problem, from examining self-destructive behavior to examining the rushing of people through exams and procedures, as if we were cattle.

    Obamacare is the worst possible plan because it focuses on reducing payments to doctors and hospitals instead of focusing on curing the patient.

    Successful businesses of all kinds use a "systems approach" when they organize their business. They streamline things so that each employee is highly productive - and costs are minimized.

    Using a "systems approach" to medicine would improve care while reducing overall cost. Changes can't happen if people simply sit in their overstuffed chairs and pontificate.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    Pretty simple solution, it's why the rest of the industrialized world has moved to this system...


    Cut the fat, cut the greed, cut the middle-man. Those working in insurance? Find real jobs folks. Go back to school if you have to.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Oct. 18, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    Let's see, the Doc looked at my knee, took an x-ray, and said "yea, the other Doc was right you have arthritis in your knee".

    Oh, and by the was he sent us a bill for $3,000.00!

    You think we have a problem with health care?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 5:25 a.m.

    Re: "We need to think of health and approach its improvement from more of a 'systems' perspective."

    Blah, blah.

    The most refreshing and innovative recent "systems" approach is the suggestion of a young doc that all Americans be able to get health care the way docs do.

    He set up a small net where a patient calls a doc, is interviewed using a set of protocols that permit diagnosis of most minor illnesses over the phone. The doc then prescribes treatment or calls in a prescription, and the patient gets quickly back to health.

    In those cases requiring diagnostic procedure or a clinical visit, it's arranged over the phone, same day or next.

    The idea came from this young doc's own experience. A friend, who was having trouble with his appendix called. The doc referred him to a surgeon buddy, who scheduled the surgery that day in an outpatient facility, saving the patient and his insurer $100G.

    The "systems" approach we need? Make the system work for us the way it works for docs.