The article that forms the basis for this paper is the report prepared by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC, 2005) on how to create a sustainable future for the health care industry by the year 2020. The paper describes the term "sustainable future" as follows:
There is an imbalance of the number of people who demand health care, the price they pay and are willing to pay for it in the future, and the number of health care providers who supply the services demanded.
This imbalance creates pressures on health care finance. More and more people, including our government and the businesses that cover health care costs of these people, would not be willing to pay an ever-increasing amount to finance health care. Premiums will not be allowed to increase indefinitely, because it is becoming unsustainable for the government to allow it, leading to cut backs in coverage. Many countries experimenting with different schemes are finding it difficult and unpopular to do so (OECD, 2006).
As the PWC article and others (Schur, Berk, and Yegian, 2004) noted, the pressure of lower available financing in the face of rising health care costs and prices in the last decade, and the unwillingness of people (including the government) to pay for them indefinitely, are dangers that threaten our future in three ways.
And third, our nation and our government will continue to find it a challenge to balance the costs of maintaining an aging population and a dwindling youth population exposed to more serious sicknesses.
These are the challenges facing our health care organization. ...
These are the challenges facing our health care organization. Unless we make some changes to cope with these challenges that are partly the effects of health care finance trends, we may not survive as a business. We therefore need strategic thinking to guide our organization, our services, and myself, in the next three to five years.
Our organization must learn to manage costs, and invest funds in modern equipment and the training of people to continue improving our productivity, making the hospital sustainable. We need to make sure our health care services meet high quality standards without the costs going up too high, so we can continue to charge affordable prices. We also need to start thinking of ethical issues, like "do we provide the care that is needed and requested, or do we limit ourselves to what is financially covered by health insurance" Everyone from management to the youngest employee has to be prepared to face these challenges.
The impact of future trends in health care finance affects all providers in different ways, and in the not-for-profit Catholic hospital where I work the issues we need to be prepared for will range from the medical and financial to the ethical and moral.
Some Detailed Considerations
I am a registered nurse who manages a Same Day Surgery unit in the hospital as part of my job working for the SSM Network, which has as its mission to provide exceptional health care services driven by core values consistent with our organization's heritage and priorities. We are known for our commitment to quality care - we won the Baldridge Quality Award in 2002, an accomplishment that reflects an exceptional ...
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