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Lack of preventive care poses fiscal danger to hospitals

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Robert Ostrowsky, the head of RWJBarnabas Health, in New Jersey, says that lack of preventive care in some communities could end up deeply damaging hospitals.

“It’s not easy because no one is willing to pay for that right now, meaning I don’t get reimbursed by insurance companies to keep somebody healthy and the government doesn’t seem to want to pay us to keep someone healthy,” Mr. Ostrowsky told the Asbury Park Press.

“They all prefer to pay us when someone gets sick and they want us to spend less when that person is sick. That’s where the concentration has been. But an ounce of prevention. If they would take X number of dollars and say, ‘Here, use it to keep people healthy,’ actuarially, that will show you eventually spend less on sickness care.”

But then, as  Ron Shinkman wrote in FierceHealthcare noted:
“It’s simply easier for providers to write a prescription than deploy a complex exercise or lifestyle regimen that might improve health and reduce pain. Some other unsettling forces from the business side of healthcare also play a role. Most notably is Purdue Pharma looking the other way on potential abuse of its OxyContin painkiller, marketing it based on the dubious claim its effects lasted for 12 hours, increasing the risk of abuse, and also taking a significant period of time to reformulate its pills to make them less likely to be abused.”

Mr. Shinkman continues: “Ostrowsky is right. Lack of proactivity on population health is not only making more Americans sick and keeping them out of the workforce, it makes them more likely to lash out against the only institutions that could play a role in their being healthy again. It is a negative feedback loop that could have disastrous consequences for the population and hospitals if it is not aggressively addressed.”

To read the article in the Asbury Park Press, please hit this link.

To read Ron Shinkman’s commentary,  please hit this link. 

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