Navigation Links
New Study: Aging Baby Boomers Could Overwhelm U.S. Health Care System by 2017, Unless Decisive Action Is Taken
Date:3/5/2008

Analysis of Trends by Management Consultant Tefen USA Projects Health Care Spending May More Than Double as Hospital Capacity Declines And Baby Boomer

Medical Needs Escalate

NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The approaching onslaught of over 70 million aging baby boomers could overwhelm the U.S. health care system and engulf the nation's tenuous economy, according to a new study, "Will the Boom Bust Health Care?," by management consulting firm Tefen USA.

A recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) predicts that unless decisive action is taken, total U.S. health care spending will double to just over $4.3 trillion by 2017 - or nearly 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Tefen USA estimates that this figure could be considerably higher, based on its assessment of data that people over the age of 65 experience nearly three times as many hospital days per thousand as the general population, and that sixty-two percent of 50-64 year-olds report having at least one of six chronic health conditions: arthritis, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Declining Hospital Capacity

Compounding the problem, according to Tefen, is a sharp decline in hospital capacity. The number of community hospitals decreased from 5,384 to 4,915 between 1990 and 2000. During the same time period, the number of beds per 1,000 of population decreased from 4.2 to 3.0. This reduction in capacity, Tefen points out, has been accompanied by a sharp increase in hospital staffing. Between 1995 and 2000, full-time equivalent personnel increased from about 3,420,000 to about 3,911,400. At the same time, hospitals have spent almost $100 billion in facility and infrastructure improvements.

"There is an immense, growing disconnect within the U.S. health care sector," said Barry Calogero, president, Tefen USA, and author of the study. "Capacity is shrinking, costs are skyrocketing, and the patient population is about to explode. Our nation must bring these disparate factors into alignment in order to preserve the foundation of U.S. health care while adapting to the economic, medical and political conditions of today and tomorrow.

Severe Consequences Projected

As baby boomer-induced health care costs grow, these severe consequences are likely to occur, according to the Tefen study:

-- The problem of uninsured Americans will escalate, as employers seek to

reduce the burden of retiree health care coverage, trim their

contributions to health care premiums and, in some instances, eliminate

the health care benefit entirely.

-- Health care quality will suffer, with wide variation in treatments and

big differences in death rates and surgical complications.

-- Federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid will skyrocket, forcing

politicians to raise taxes or severely curtail a wide range of other

government programs.

-- State budgets will suffer under the crush of soaring Medicaid costs,

compromising support for education and other local initiatives.

-- The nation as a whole will have fewer and fewer dollars to spend on

education, environmental protection, scientific research and national

security.

"Despite what many people think, the solution is not a single-payer system," said Calogero. "While socialized medicine provides some advantages from an access standpoint, it does not address the underlying cost and quality issues that threaten the functional integrity of health care in the U.S. The real solution to America's health care challenges requires three components: implementing tort reforms, mandating the use of best practices and driving systemic process improvement." The Tefen study provides insights and details on each of these three solution elements.

Implement Tort Reforms

The study's author suggests that the threat of lawsuits causes providers to hide problems and engage in unnecessary procedures to avoid potential negative occurrences. "If caregivers document mistakes, they are immediately exposed to litigation," observes Calogero. "Consequently, obfuscation and secrecy become the standard practice when confronted with errors. Quality issues are concealed and knowledge is suppressed, leading to the high likelihood that mistakes will be replicated."

The solution, according to Tefen, is a system of health courts similar in practice to the arbitration system utilized to address other complex issues requiring dispute resolution, such as workers' compensation, tax and patent disputes and vaccine liability, where claims against institutions are adjudicated. Health courts would administer peer reviews and independent analysis of procedural errors - differentiating between human error and negligence - and determining damages proportionate to the mistakes.

Mandate the Use of Best Practices

The current system of medical reimbursement actually rewards providers for delivering more care - not necessarily better care, according to Tefen. "With fairly uniform medical pricing across the industry set by the government and private insurers, providers can optimize revenues only by increasing the number of procedures," explains Calogero. "This perverse system creates immense variability in how care is delivered. It gives hospitals and doctors little incentive to consistently provide treatments that medical research has shown produce the best results."

The solution, according to Tefen, is a mandated system that holds providers accountable for delivering health care using the best known practices and protocols. Such a system would reduce variability and administer compensation directly tied to improving practice patterns and medical outcomes.

Drive Systemic Process Improvement

When compared to other industries, health care is the single largest sub- optimized sector of the U.S. economy, states the author. Rampant opportunities exist to transform inefficient, serial processes into efficient, parallel ones that eliminate unnecessary activities in the care giving process. As an example, Calogero cites a study at a major academic medical center which found that only 25 percent of nurses' time was spent actually providing care in a patient's room. The rest was consumed with administrative chores.

The solution, according to Tefen, is to change inefficient paradigms. "By removing redundant duties, implementing new, time-efficient systems and eliminating supply management tasks, we have demonstrated the ability to more than double the time nurses spend with patients, with attendant improvements in quality of care."

The entire Tefen study, "Will the Boom Bust Health Care?" is now available at http://www.tefen.com.

About Tefen USA

Tefen USA is a subsidiary of Tefen, a global management consulting firm founded in 1982. The company focuses on driving performance excellence to achieve improvements in cost, quality, and service delivery. Tefen USA supports a variety of industries and has worked with many Fortune 500 organizations. Tefen partners with clients to build quantified cases for change, setting themselves apart by working with clients from strategy through implementation to achieve sustainable results.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Tefen USA
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. U of M study: Early treatment can reverse heart damage
2. New study: Pine bark reduces perimenopausal symptoms
3. U of M study: Health food supplement may curb addiction of pathological gamblers
4. New study: Pine bark extract reduces ADHD symptoms in children
5. Kaiser Permanente study: Alcohol amount, not type -- wine, beer, liquor -- triggers breast cancer
6. UGA study: Youth exposed to smokeless tobacco ads despite settlement
7. New National Medicaid Study: Minnesota Under Funds Seniors Nursing Home Care $167 Million Annually
8. Study: Modafinil is effective in treating excessive sleepiness
9. Breaking Study: Masimo Pleth Variability Index (PVI) Shown Effective in Noninvasive Detection of Changes in Ventricular Preload and Fluid Volume
10. New study: pine bark extract boosts nitric oxide production
11. Study: HPV test beats Pap in detecting cervical cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple ... care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster ... Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and ... plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway ... store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in ... existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to ... home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... -- NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 for its highly ... designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor solution, ZeroWire ... support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, and the lowering ... ... ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company ... "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user ... with better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey ... on efficacy of the compression for a more informed ... goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. ... day with the investment community and media to further ... call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, ... webcast of the conference call through a link that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: