Friday, January 13, 2012

Health Execs Ignore the Biggest Pot Hole on the Road to the Future

Healthcare Reform may be the single biggest issue on the horizon for the health industry, but health executives seem to be planning on simply driving around it. According to a recent survey from Towers Watson, reform is the last thing on these execs’ minds.

The Towers Watson survey presents some very interesting statistics, and they all point toward the same conclusion. Health execs are aware of impending reform changes, and they know that the future of the industry will be drastically changed in the next three years.

For example, fully 93% expect cuts in reimbursement levels, and 67% anticipate a shift in the payer mix, with fewer private payers. Just over three-quarters (77%) agree they will need a wider range of skills among their staff. And three-quarters (75%) expect a higher ratio of outpatient to inpatient care, as well as an increased need for primary care capabilities.

However, on the lower end of the survey, the results show how little effort is being put into developing strategies for dealing with these changes.

In terms of their top three greatest business challenges over the next two to three years, respondents cited managing costs (72%), improving quality of care (56%) and managing changes in the payer mix (25%). Far fewer, though, cited collaborating with local providers on community health and wellness services (18%), arguably a critical focus for the future.

What do you see as the primary motivations behind this lack of interest? Do you think the executives are running on a play-it-by-ear mentality? Are they just waiting to see what everyone else is going to do? Tell us your opinions in the comments, and we may respond to some of your ideas in next week’s blog!


Stock photography by brunette808-STOCK. Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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