What a great time to be working in healthcare. I think everyone who works inside the healthcare environment recognizes that we are in the midst of change. This change is all about focus and is best captured by saying we are improving your health, rather than just taking care of what is wrong with your health: wellness versus sickness. As simple as that sounds, it is a major shift and requires a significant re-structuring of how we deliver care. We began this journey of change in the delivery of care shortly after the execution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA 2010) and are well down the road of re-structuring.
If you think about how healthcare and, particularly, hospitals have been designed, everything we have done is centered on taking care of a sudden onset of illness/accident. Of course, we intend to make you “well,” however, we have rarely been concerned with targeting “wellness.” Imagine someone going to see their physician because they feel good, yet many of us take our cars in when they are running fine for maintenance – so why not people? To some degree we have only done those things that we get paid to do, and historically “wellness” was not on the list. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is an opportunity to be paid for performing a wellness visit and, even better, the wellness visit is free to the patient and can be done annually.
So when we think about all that is wrong in the world or how personal the business of healthcare is, I encourage you to begin thinking about what is right about the wellness visit concept brought to us through the ACA. It really makes sense to help keep people well and, as it turns out, it is less expensive in the long term for healthcare in our country. I’m pretty sure no one will complain about feeling too good!
Steve Barnett has been the President and CEO of McKenzie Health System since 2008.