As the various sectors within the health care industry continue to evolve and adjust as a result of health care reform, many questions remain regarding the state of the industry and how our businesses and local population are affected. To help answer some of those questions, the Los Angeles Business Journal turned to a diverse group of experts with various perspectives, including some of the most knowledgeable and active participants in the regional equation. Following is a series of questions the Business Journal posed to these health care stewards of the region and the unique responses they provided – offering a glimpse into where health care stands today – from the perspectives of those in the trenches delivering and facilitating health services for the people of the Los Angeles area.
There appears to be more uncertainty about our nation’s healthcare system than ever. What are your projections for how the system will evolve over the coming year or two and what impact will it have on businesses?
ALVARNAS: Over the past six months, patients, physicians, healthcare systems and business leaders have endured a rollercoaster ride as the administration and Congress have struggled to deliver upon their numerous promises to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The reality is that unfortunately we are likely to remain in an uncertain state for the foreseeable future. Any future system, regardless of its funding mechanism, will have to deliver greater and more transparent value to its beneficiaries. As business leaders grapple with the central question of how to best overcome the challenges of variability in care quality and the conundrum of how to rein in healthcare costs, the opportunity to forge stronger relationships with physicians and health care systems will help us navigate past this point of uncertainty. The best path forward is a renewed focus on how best to increase the value of health care, how best to understand clinical risk, and how to develop more meaningful performance metrics. Value is the way forward.
‘Over the past six months, patients, physicians, healthcare systems and business leaders have endured a rollercoaster ride as the administration and Congress have struggled to deliver upon their numerous promises to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The reality is that unfortunately we are likely to remain in an uncertain state for the foreseeable future.’ JOSEPH C. ALVARNAS
KHOURI: We agree that there are many uncertainties. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles relies substantially on diverse revenue sources and takes care of many patients who rely on publicly funded insurance. As employers, patients, families and payers experience uncertainty, this affects us substantially as well. We project that over the next year or two, we will continue to face uncertainty. We are really focused on making sure that our fundamentals are strong. We’re making sure that we are delivering high quality, family-centered patient care, and assuring that patients and families have convenient access to our care by increasing our access points. This is an important focus and we are confident that these are the right things to do even as we face a lot of uncertainty with respect to healthcare reform and the threat to Medicaid funding.