Controlling Health Care Costs Discussion

April 5th, 2021
The Honorable A. B
U.S. Senate

Re: Controlling Health Care Costs

Dear Senator A. B.,

As a nurse, I write to you regarding the ever-increasing healthcare costs fanned in part by the expanding executive-physician wage gap and compensations to non-clinical workers. Given the growing population, the number of employed physicians and non-physician health workers is expected to rise. Specifically, concerns have emerged regarding the ever-growing executive-physician wage gap and the burden of non-clinical workers. A study by Du, Rascoe and Marcus established that between 2005 and 2015, mean worker wages increased by 8%, management worker wages by 14%, physician salaries by 10% and non-clinical worker compensations by 7%.

The high cost of salaries has consistently presented challenges to the U.S. health sector, as is the case in other developed countries. This trend aligns with the shift in focus from medical economics to patient satisfaction. The industry, however, needs to effectively use the available resources. A probable recommendation to the legislator is the need to evaluate labor management, including employees, scope of practice and technology cost control.

Patients should have access to healthcare as well as information at a single stop. Poor information regarding options available in seeking the service and alternative clinics limit the patient to the single hospital. Some countries have prices pinned on walls for patients to be aware before they get the service. The healthcare provider should not only talk about the cost of the service, but rather insist on value of the service in different clinics. This leaves the client with the option to figure out their best option. Further, patients should only be subjected to the necessary tests to avoid un-indicated tests. This cuts on cost-of-service delivery and reduces their hospital stay.

Most healthcare centres have normalised extended working shifts to offer round the clock outpatient services with goal of satisfying patient needs. However, this increases demand for human resource, for a service that economically and effectively can be provided during normal working hours. Avoiding duplication of services among staff cadres and in information technology reduces wastage of resources hence saving on costs of operation. For example, advanced practice nurses are entitled to educate patients on self-care and drug compliance, whereas a pharmacist also comes in to educate the patient on medication use. In addition, involvement of patients in decision making reduces likelihood of wrong choices and complexities of developing a care plan.

Arguing along the existing policies to regulate use of technology in provision of health services, the state legislator should harness the policy to allow registration of local physicians into remote healthcare options. Loosening the policy that requires a doctor to have had physical consultation with a patient prior to enrolling them to telehealth will make the utilization of health systems friendlier to the physicians. It also adds to the continuum of care for patients long before they are admitted for further management. The patient is prepared for his/her review or surgery prior to the day. This reduces the number of hospital visits and hence lesser resources are utilised.

As the Affordable Care Act of 2010 recommends, affordability and accessibility of healthcare services are both vital for citizens. However, with the surge in national medical cost burdens, review on resource management and accountability is imperative. The solutions to address this are myriad, among them being reviewing labour management practices that focus on value rather than patient satisfaction, application and regulation of technology, as well as transparency of information on costs to the service consumers.

Yours Sincerely,



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