A Letter to Healthcare Providers from a Consumer

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 8, 2014

Now that the rules of healthcare delivery have changed so dramatically, we need to be clear about our new relationship. If you thought haggling with insurance companies was rough, just wait until you hear my expectations.

Greetings Providers! By way of introduction, we've met before. I am one of the hundreds of millions of people out there who were once referred to as your patients. Going forward, however, it'd be more accurate if you thought of me as a healthcare consumer. This is a business, after all, and you're selling me a product. So we need to be clear about our new relationship.

Let me assure you, now that the rules of healthcare delivery have changed so dramatically, the idea of the healthcare consumer is not a mere buzzword. This is now a matter of my "skin in the game" and my cold hard cash.

For years healthcare policy wonks have said that the best way to reduce cost growth in healthcare is to educate patients and make them smarter consumers. And the fastest way to educate anybody on anything is to make them pay for it.

And that's where I am now.

For as long as I can remember I was in a traditional health insurance plan where I paid a certain amount in premiums, a certain amount in co-pays, and a certain amount in deductibles. It was a pleasant enough relationship, however insupportable. I didn't understand how it worked because I didn't have to.

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10 comments on "A Letter to Healthcare Providers from a Consumer"

Jane Orient (1/20/2014 at 1:01 PM)
YOu are welcome as a patient if you value my services. I expect honesty and transparency from patients also.

Stephen E. Galya (1/17/2014 at 8:17 PM)
I was quite disappointed by Mr. Commins statement about physician assistants, and not physician's assistant as he put it. This gentleman obviously has no idea of the training PA's go though, or what they are capable of doing. I have been a PA for 21 years, and currently work in family practice, and manage patients with hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, and other chronic conditions. We as PA's work hard, and research has shown that patients are at times more satisfied with our care than MD's. A truly hurtful and disappointing statement. This man should have done some research.

G Constantinopolos, MD, MBA (1/14/2014 at 10:12 PM)
Transparency and communication is a must indeed. However we must all speak the same language. Too many people in this country consider healthcare a social "good" which they are entitled to as it is the right to walk in a house workship and pray. But the providers see it as a market " good" for which a financial transaction is due. Physicians are not a commodity as the insurance plans seem to believe. The time is coming when you will have to pay a good premium to select a physician who is an expert in his field. As a consumer you know you get what you pay for. But I would also agree that the unchallenged super inflated hospital charges should come to an end. It is now clear that hospitals are big profitable businesses with little if any concern to their captive customer base. They can not operate within the non profit arena trying to compete with the private practitioners who have supportersd them through the good and bad times Hospitals and their highly paid administrators offer no care, they just facilitate, it is the physicians who do that !




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