With a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system, Congress would be giving the health care industry as many as 32 million additional paying customers in the next few years. That means 32 million more paying customers for hospitals.
According to the New York Times, “Hospitals and drug makers, which supported the final legislation, would be clear beneficiaries, analysts say, even if the outlook for insurers was less certain.”
The article goes on to say that hospitals have little to fear. The number of newly insured is expected to decrease significantly the amount that hospitals now lose each year when they provide care to people with no means to pay. The questions become:
- Will an increase in Medicaid patients, which typically pays less than the costs, be a mixed blessing?
- Are hospitals already treating these patients with no reimbursement?
ABC News states:
“Increased insurance coverage will go a long way toward easing hospitals’ financial pain. With the expansion of Medicaid and a mandate to buy coverage, hospitals will erase most of their bad debt within five years.”
So what does this mean for you? Coverage isn’t required until 2013, which leaves plenty of time to put plans in place to address the reform. What to look for:
- Check projections for how increased coverage affects your hospital
- Target your marketing: Just because 32 million more people may have coverage doesn’t mean you need to market them
- Check your Medicaid reimbursements: Medicaid reimburses well for some DRGs. These would be ideal DRG’s for a marketing campaign.
Let me know, how will health reform affect your hospital?
A transformative change is taking place in the way medical services are provided: Private Practices are becoming Health System owned.Â¬â€ This affects the way you do hospital marketing more than any other trend or legislation in your lifetime.
For the last 50 years practices have been owned by doctors about 70% of the time. Since 2007 that number has been dropping like a rock as physicians are choosing to be employed by health systems.
This is happening at the same time as a big increase in self referral to providers. For instance, more than 82% of women do their own research before they discuss medical issues with friends and then later with doctors.
What used to fill our hospitals is physician referrals. Now what fills beds is consumer self referrals based on their own research.
Doctors that are now employees have technological (EMR) and financial incentives to refer within the system. Consumers self-referral is continuing to increase. So you should devote less resourcesÂ¬â€ to physician referral marketing and more resources dedicated to consumer marketing.
This is great news. Why? Because physician referral patterns slowly change- if at all. And consumers are quickly informed and will make a decision. This means you can drive profitable increases in clinical volume relatively quickly. Said another way: your job just got easier.
A panel of experts a the SXSW conference discusses the intersection between health and social media. Specifically looking at the topic of building trust for healthcare systems.
Building trust is a critical step in developing a relationship with your patients and therefore increasing your patient volumes.
The Panel featured:
- Doug Ulman, CEO of Livestrong: Focused on the power of health based communities online
- Greg Matthews from Humana: shared how a health insurer can innovate internally
- Jenn Texada from MD Anderson: shared how she and her communications team use social media tools to interact directly with patients for customer service
- David Hale from the National Library of Medicine: Presented an innovative new database to help identify unknown pills
- Fabio Gratton: shared how to build a movement
The aim of the final session was to brainstorm ways that healthcare organizations could overcome the barriers and build more trust and credibility.
They settled on 10 Steps to Build Trust (and volume)!
- Listen to and implement ideas from the community.
- Have shared values on good health.
- Answer your patient’s or customer’s concerns directly.
- Aggregate or curate useful information.
- Serve as a resource or guide for the community.
- Set expectations on what you do and why.
- Focus on setting a clear mission for employees.
- Communicate results and outcomes.
- Recognize both sides of the issue or data.
- Build trusted long-term relationships.