Old Habits New Habits
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WHERE'S YOUR NEIGHBOR GOING FOR HEALTHCARE?

By: Randy Gerber, Esq., Founder of Pacient.care


I know you’re busy and barely have time to skim this article.  But take a second and ponder how you, your family and your neighbors are getting their health care these days.


For most of my years on this planet, if you were sick you went to (a) the doctor’s office, (b) the emergency room at the Hospital, or (c) the Hospital.  These options are still available but today we have more choices and more things to consider, such as. . . .


Consider that in Missouri (and a few other states), if you have Anthem Blue Cross insurance and you wander into a Hospital emergency room for what Anthem considers to be non-emergency treatment (let’s say a head cold or stomach ache), guess who pays the bill?  That’s right look in the mirror. [For more about this policy which has not been well received, read here.]


But the times are a changing.  Today, when We The People have a sinus infection,  many of us are heading to our local retail clinic (think Walmart, CVS or Walgreens) or urgent care facility rather than the emergency room at the Hospital.  In a recent study, between 2007 and 2016 urgent care visits increased by 1725%. In the grand scheme of things this is a good thing in that it brings down the overall costs of healthcare.  Retail clinics and urgent care centers are generally cheaper and more efficient than hospital emergency rooms for many types of illnesses.


And while the number #1 category of illness treated at urgent care centers is acute respiratory infections (colds), many of us older folk (ages 41-60) are using telehealth for mental health issues.


And a shout out to the Millennials (born between 1980-2000) who are more than twice as likely as us baby-boomers to use walk-in clinics and who are the group that is most likely to research doctor and hospital ratings.


Last, but not least, as further evidence that times are changing, the CEO of Ascension Health (the largest Catholic health system in the United States) suggested a change in focus from a hospital focused system to outpatient care and telemedicine.  


We The People, are making a difference in the way we are being treated.  Thanks for reading. Any comments or questions, email me at rgerber@pacient.care. Randy.