State Sen. Stephen Meredith of Leitchfield said it’s time to invent a new health care delivery system in Kentucky, and it must be driven by health care providers. Health Policy Forum, held October 11 in Lexington.
Before making this assertion, Meredith pointed to a quote from Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Then he said: “Let’s do it. Let’s create a new health care delivery system.”
The address is titled “How to Fix an Irredeemably Broken Health Care System?”
Meredith spent decades as a leader in health care management before being elected to the Senate in 2016. When he retired as boss of Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, now is a subsidiary of Owensboro Health, which is one of the four strongest hospitals financially. 100 beds in Kentucky. He is also CEO of the Grayson County Hospital Foundation, which employs most of the local physicians and manages their operations.
Meredith, a Republican, is chair of the Senate Health Services Committee, co-chair of the Government Contracts Review Committee and a member of other committees, including the Children and Families Committee I just established it recently.
“He knows the challenges our healthcare delivery system faces, because he has seen it firsthand,” Ben Chandler, the foundation’s CEO, said in his introduction. they”.
Meredith opened her speech by listing some of the known challenges facing the current health care system, including the “astronomical” cost of care that has left the average person unable to afford it. ability to pay.
He also called the “mass” of health care professionals leaving the system “alarming” and called one of the largest insurance companies in America, which earned $86.4 billion in profits last year, a of “our most damning indictments.” current health care delivery system. “
He noted that the United States is spending $1.2 trillion on health care but experiencing some of the worst health outcomes.
“The problem is we know what the problem is; we don’t solve those problems,” Meredith said.
He went on to point out that the state’s move to a managed care program for Medicaid has been in place since 2012, “and we have not improved the health of our people.” Furthermore, he said the state’s Medicaid budget is $10 billion to serve 1.3 million people, and that is the largest ever.
“When inventing a new health care delivery system in the future, we must all agree and acknowledge that the health care delivery system already has enough money to provide care. every man, woman and child in this country if we spend. properly,” he said.
Furthermore, he said, “If we truly improve people’s health and get people back to gainful employment, we will have enough money to take care of everyone.”
To do this, he said we must have a clear mission and vision of how to fix the system.
“If we are all united in this, it will be quite simple,” he said. “We are here to heal, help relieve pain and suffering, bring comfort to the dying and improve the quality of life for those we serve. If we all unite in that, won’t that move us in the same direction?
“And one thing I haven’t mentioned is that it doesn’t talk about where to make a profit. Now, I am a capitalist to the nth degree and I believe in making profits. But that’s when you bring value to the system. You increase efficiency and you do it in a better way. And we don’t do that.”
He said changes should be made at the local level by moving to a Medicaid block grant program, which would allow local governments to determine how to spend Medicaid dollars, with an incentive to save money for other local purposes.
“If you improve the health of your population, any savings you achieve, you can continue to improve your community,” he said. “If you want to invest in the school system, you want to invest in infrastructure, you want to invest in broadband, it’s yours.”
The main reason we don’t do things like this is out of fear, says Meredith: “People don’t like risk. Fear prevents us from doing what we need to do.”
Melissa Patrick is a reporter for Kentucky Health News, an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Affairs, based at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Communication, with support from Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. She received several competitive fellowships, including the 2016-17 Nursing and Healthcare Workforce Communications Fellow from the Center for Health, Communications & Policy, which allowed her to focus and write on nursing workforce issues in Kentucky; and a year-long Association of Health Care Journalists 2017-18 Regional Health Journalism Program fellowship. She is a former registered nurse and has degrees in journalism and community leadership and development from the UK.
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