Economy Rockford: The Health of Healthcare

As job losses mount and more people lose their medical benefits, healthcare institutions are scrambling to find ways to pay for their uninsured visitors. Rockford Health Systems CEO Gary Kaatz talks about the problem, and the potential changes that could lie ahead.

Rockford Health Systems CEO Gary Kaatz is on the board of the American Hospital Association. One of the main topics at last month’s meeting was the Obama administration’s plan to fix out ailing healthcare system. One idea is a universal healthcare exchange plan, allowing patients who cant get benefits through traditional means to get it through the federal government. But the biggest concern for Kaatz is a big push at the federal level not to reimburse health systems for readmitting patients who’ve been at the hospital and are discharged within 30 days. Kaatz says that could have a critical impact on future care.

“We have patients that have COPD or high risk pregnancies, pneumonias or mental illness that frequently have good reason to come back to the hospital in 30 days. And our biggest fear is that an ultimatum that says we will not pay provider for readmittance in 30 days, will probably lead to a much more fragmented non-coordinated form of care.”

Among the other things discussed is the creation of a national health board, that would look at ways to create more value in healthcare.

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