Waste not, want not

The headline of this post is something I heard my grandmother say over and over. Or maybe it was my mother. Anyway, it’s something those who lived through the Great Depression learned and it became a part of their being.

There have been reports that suggest as we learn to live with less through this current economic downturn, it could translate into leaner times for the long term. Good news or bad news, depending on your perspective (do you want people to spend or save?).

But what does that have to do with health care and this blog? Just this … from The Advisory Board

“Lawmakers at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday in Washington, DC, said that the federal government needs to bolster efforts to fight fraud and waste within the Medicare and Medicaid programs to help pay for a health care overhaul. According to some estimates, the U.S. loses at least $60 billion annually to waste and fraud within the health care system, while other estimates put the figure as high as 10% of the more than $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on health care.

“During the hearing, Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined four other Democrats in announcing a bill that would strengthen the federal sentencing guidelines for health care fraud and authorize an additional $20 billion annually to help fight fraud. However, some Republicans at the hearing expressed doubts that the federal government is capable of addressing fraud properly, particularly if the government enacts a public plan as part of health reform.”

We’re watching closely what happens in Washington as our government officials work on health care reform. And we’re serious about operating more efficiently — cutting out waste wherever possible.

One area where we’ve made great improvements is in “patient flow,” using our space, our staff and our beds more efficiently.

This is real savings. And the more improvements we make, the better the system will function, the more cost effective it will be and the closer we can get to a system that has as its number-one goal: better health for all.

Stay tuned.

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