Niagara Gazette —
No law can fix everything, but the experts agreed that change is vital. And, many health care providers and insurers are already trying to improve services and cut costs. Independent health has started doing that through their P-2 Collaberative, with P-2 being short for "Pursuing Perfection," joining with Univera and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, along with other area medical providers to create an environment for change.
"We know we have to look at reducing costs," said Rifkin of Independent Health, who estimates her company spends 90 cents to the dollar on patient health care bills. "If that's where the bulk of our costs are, how do we reduce those costs so premiums don't keep rising."
In an effort to cut cost of treating the underinsured, Niagara Falls Memorial was recently named a "Health Home," for Niagara County, which will allow the hospital staff to literally caretake those patients who overuse hospital services, assisting them outside of the hospital with all manner of life improvement issues from housing to social services, and working to keep them well.
"The name of the game is going to be how to keep people out of hospital," said Joe Ruffolo, president of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. "Medicare at its present rate is going bankrupt and theres no question that things need to be done so when I'm 65 I'll be able to have Medicare," he said. He's obviously not the only one worrying about health care being affordable as they age.
"I've become a psychologist," said Rifkin, when asked about the conversations she has out in the community about health care. "There's a lot of angst about what is going to happen."