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Test Your Healthcare Management IQ: Part 2

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One of the newest programs at JSOM is the BS in Healthcare Management, headed by Dr. Britt Berrett. Last week, he posed a series of questions to test your Healthcare Management IQ. This week, as promised, we’re delivering the answers.

1. What is estimated total annual healthcare spending in the United States?

A: Almost $3 trillion.

Dr. Berrett says:

Healthcare spending in the United States has experienced consistent double-digit growth for several decades. Three consistent forces are fueling this growth, new technology, demographic shifts and new treatments.

New Technology — Few can argue that there has been explosive growth in new technologies — computed tomography (CT — or — CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), proton therapy, gamma knives, bionic hips, mechanical valves, and more. The integration of new technology and information technology allows us to diagnose and treat with improved efficacy and efficiency.

Demographic Shifts — The Baby Boomers are growing older, and they are sick and demanding.
New Treatments — We have broken the Genome Code, and now we are exploring new pharmaceutical interventions on the cutting edge of science.

But don’t assume that we have reached the pinnacle of healthcare spending. For the aforementioned forces and many more, healthcare spending will continue to climb and represent a greater percentage of our economy. . . leading to more jobs and greater responsibilities for healthcare leaders of tomorrow.

2. What is another name for Obamacare?

A: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Berrett says:

Some might declare that the Affordable Care Act is one step closer to the complete socialization of healthcare. Perhaps. But more importantly, healthcare public policy is front and center on the national stage. Be prepared to listen to numerous advocates and critics debate the merits of one of the most sweeping healthcare policy changes in the history of our country. But also recognize that our national healthcare policy agenda will continue to evolve and change. And we will need the next generation of healthcare leaders to navigate those changes with purpose and preparation. The JSOM Healthcare Management program provides context and content for our future leaders.

3. Healthcare spending is a critical topic for business leaders today. It is estimated that 50 percent of the population consumes less than 3 percent of the healthcare paid for by that spending. How much spending is accounted for by the top 5 percent of healthcare consumers?

A: Fifty percent of all healthcare spending.

Dr. Berrett says:

WHAT? That must be incorrect! How could 50 percent of the healthcare spending in the United States be consumed by only 5 percent of the population? Really??? Yes, really! Consider the enormous commitment of resources at the beginning of life and at the end of life. The Neo-Natal Intensive Care Units and the Pediatric Intensive Care Units are two of the most complicated and complex delivery service in any hospital. On the other end of the spectrum, consider the enormous resources that are committed to the critically ill — trauma, intensive care, multi-organ failure, transplantation . . . . Our healthcare delivery system is expensive and focused on curing the sick — and some would argue that not enough is being spent on prevention or wellness. Combine the commitment at the beginning of life and the critically ill and you realize that in fact, 5 percent of the population accounts for ,more than 50 percent of all healthcare spending!

4. Healthcare spending per capita in the United States is approximately?

A: $8,000.

Dr. Berrett says:

Annually we commit an excessive amount of resources to our healthcare in comparison to all other industrial nations. Some might argue that we are talking about apples and oranges when comparing our costs to other countries — different expectations, different delivery models and different financing mechanisms. Fair enough. But we spend at least double all other countries such as Switzerland, Norway, England, France, Russia, Sweden . . . . In fact, there isn’t another industrialized country that even comes close to what the U.S. spends per capita. And why? Well, that is what the JSOM Healthcare Management graduates will be studying and changing.

5. The evolution of health services in the United States can be defined into four separate categories. They are?

A: Preindustrial era; postindustrial era; corporate era; healthcare reform era.

Dr. Berrett says:

The study of the evolution of the U.S. healthcare delivery services can be defined into four unique time periods. Beginning with the birth of our country and the proliferation of country physicians, which extends into the industrial era and the introduction of science and research, navigating through the corporatization of medicine, and eventually the overwhelming reconfiguration of healthcare reform. Each period represents an evolution of how we deliver care and what we expect as a community from our caregivers. Healthcare management leaders will be challenged to orchestrate the science and the expectations into the next era of U.S. healthcare.

6. During the World War II era, health insurance become employer-based because of:

A: Wage freezes.

Dr. Berrett says:

It really doesn’t make much sense. Why does an employer pay for our healthcare benefits? Employers don’t pay for car insurance or home insurance. Why healthcare insurance? And consider how much time and effort is expended by businesses to provide a benefit that they have little understanding of or expertise in. So, how did this get started? Thank WWII and a series of federally mandated wage freezes that attempted to prevent the migration of workers from job to job. The policymakers were convinced that freezing wages would prevent shipbuilders from paying an extra dollar for all manufacturing workers and thereby causing the artillery manufacturers screeching to a halt because all their employees had moved down the street to the shipyards. But creativity is the key to capitalism, and a clever response was to introduce “additional benefits” to potential employees. And thus was born the idea of employer-based health benefits.

But don’t get too comfortable. Experts suggest that the era of employer-based healthcare benefits is coming to an end, and self-directed healthcare benefit selection will become the rule. Employers will determine annual healthcare benefits consideration — let’s say $10,000 — and include it in the paycheck. Employees will determine their individual and family healthcare needs and access the healthcare exchanges to purchase exactly what they want and need.

The upheaval in the market will be dramatic, and healthcare consumerism will enter a new and more dynamic era. Healthcare leaders of the future will lead this transition and navigate new and innovative solutions for self-directed healthcare services.

7. Which central agency manages the healthcare delivery system in the United States?

A: None.

Dr. Berrett says:

Sad but true, efforts to orchestrate a meaningful healthcare delivery policy and system have been thwarted, resulting in a disjointed and clumsy healthcare delivery system. But we have exactly what we have created — sick–centric care that rewards the proliferation of technology and treatment rather than health and wellness. Critics and pundits would agree that our current system is unsustainable, but few agree on the direction for the future.

Tomorrow’s healthcare leaders will navigate the challenges of new technology, changing demographics and emerging new treatments. Overlay these challenges with the politicization of healthcare policy, and we will have ourselves an opportunity to find new and innovative solutions.

8. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which factors contribute most to premature death in the U.S.?

A: Lifestyle and personal behaviors.

9. What is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States?

A: Smoking.

Dr. Berrett says:

Is it possible that anyone is still smoking? Is there any confusion regarding the impact of nicotine on the lungs and body? Can anyone possibly suggest that smoking provides benefit to one’s health? But why do we still have smokers, and how do we respond to the healthcare costs? Healthcare leaders of the future will need to orchestrate healthcare resources that address individual and community behaviors. We will be combining clinical conclusions with policy demands and behavioral realities. If we are able to address something as abusive as smoking, it may open the door for addressing other similar issues purposefully and successfully.

Want more healthcare answers? Check out our recent interview with Dr. Berrett about healthcare management:


Kelcey Piper

Kelcey's experience extends from search-engine marketing strategy to HTML, to social media management. Kelcey got her BBA in Marketing from Baylor University and is now proud to be a Comet at UT Dallas. Read more articles

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