Richard Kube, MD, Spine Surgeon, CEO and founder of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute, Peoria, Ill. is one of five spine surgeons around the country featured in Becker’s Spine Review for the weekly column Ask Spine Surgeons. This week the spine surgeons discuss how to reduce healthcare costs without compromising care.
Dr. Kube’s response: Harvard Business Professor Michael Porter authored a book titled “Redefining Health Care.” In it he discusses lowering cost through the principles of competition and providing value to the patient and consumer. Forming an Integrated Spine Center would be a great start to accomplish this.
As costs rise, everyone looks for greater value in purchases. If services are truly integrated, then a center operates with the goal of returning the patient as closely to normal function as possible in the most efficient way possible. Coordinating care under one roof helps improve efficiency, and it allows for the appropriate care to be delivered regardless of what is needed every time. Providing surgical services as part of the model also lowers costs as hospitals charge and cost much more than ambulatory surgical facilities.
In addition, the outcomes are just as good if not better and patients have higher satisfaction at these smaller facilities. Unfortunately, many of the current market forces are encouraging hospital mergers and physician practice acquisitions. While these models place the services under one roof, they also create monopolies which will undoubtedly lead to paying more for less. Allowing for smaller physician-run models will provide for competition and allow the medical decisions to be made at a grassroots level. It’s the only way to control cost without compromising or rationing care.
Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. To read the article in its entirety, click here.