Putting Health Back in Healthcare: The Time Is Now

When you look at today’s health care climate, things are looking pretty scary. Costs are at an all-time high and continue to rise, while health is at an all-time low and continues to decline. It is widely known that we are in a crisis and need to take action. We have taken action on the insurance side by creating the Affordable Care Act or ACA, which we refer to as Healthcare Reform.That provided changes to insurance. The bill created new methods of billing, pricing and tax code. This change will be significant and really make the landscape of the health insurance world look different. Depending on your view, it could be a very good thing or a very bad thing.Either way, it is happening and we need to move forward in the new system.That is not all we need to do. We need to take action on health. The care part of the healthcare is what we are spending all of our money on. We are spending countless dollars on treatments, medications and procedures to care for conditions. We are using more and more care each year. That is why our healthcare costs have gone up so much and continue to do so. We are using more and more expensive services that are needed to get us back to health or allow us to live with poor health.That is not “healthcare”. It is more like sick care. You’ve probably heard the term before and it fits well.
Think about it:We are paying for treatment of situations that we are causing. We only get treatment when we are sick. Caring for the sick is what our system is doing on a day to day basis. We are not doing anything to prevent illnesses or manage current lifestyle options to ensure that there will be fewer issues in the future. That would be healthcare. This is not what we are doing.Caring for HealthHealthcare should be about caring for health and keeping it around so that the bad stuff never happens. That is the only way we will ever fix our broken system. Our system is broken not because of insurance or hospital inefficiencies. Our system is broken because we broke it. We need more and more care. That care is expensive and therefore, we continue to pay for it because we need it. What else are we going to do? If you are sick, you need care. It’s not rocket science. The problem has not been the understanding that being sick means need for care. The problem is really understanding that if you are not sick, you don’t need care. That understanding is the only way to fix anything.When do we need to fix health?We need to fix health right now. The old way didn’t work then and it won’t work now. We are past the point of being able to say that we need to “do something in the future”. Some day is here. We need to do something today. It is too late for waiting to see what will happen. We know what will happen because it already has. It just gets more expensive and harder to deal with.How do we fix health?Health is simple, healthcare is not. If we keep it simple and manage health, we don’t need as much of the complicated, expensive care. Wellness is the answer. When you look at individual people, each and every person has to be responsible for their health. Being responsible for your health means accountability for your care but also for your actions and efforts to minimize that care.Companies have an opportunity now like never before. They have been providing a benefit to employees for years. That benefit has become more and more expensive. It is easy to say that you want to cut back or shift costs and that has happened. As healthcare has become the second highest expense in many businesses, it has also become a bigger expense for each employee as costs of shifted. You can keep shifting costs or you can start solving the problem. The problem is poor health. You are paying your employees to cover the poor health that they are unable to improve. When things get more expensive, rather than making changes, we are simply finding new ways to pay for the problems… and they continue.Wellness is the way of the future. When companies take control, not only are they improving their benefits, but they are improving their employees and their business as a whole. Healthy people perform better. Healthy people have more energy and get more done. Healthy people cost less. It’s quite simple: the more health problems you have, the more healthcare costs. The healthier your employees are, the less you will be spending on their care and the more you can save on the plan overall. That is only part of the equation as productivity, attendance, moral, satisfaction/retention and other factors come into play over time.It sounds simple and it actually is if you realize the importance of health. No one can deny the importance of safety in the workplace. Injuries are expensive and devastating to a company. Wellness and safety are really the same thing. You are investing in a process to prevent future issues knowing that those issues are going to be far more expensive than the process you have in place.Safety has taught us that paying for injuries is an unnecessary expense and can be prevented. Wellness is teaching us the same thing. When it comes to preventing any expense in your business, there is no time to wait. We know that the longer we wait, the more expenses we incur. When it comes to prevention of unnecessary healthcare costs, the time is now.