Trimming the cost side of healthcare by offering innovative and more effective delivery of treatment is the silver bullet of real healthcare reform. According to this article in the Kaiser Health News, Bravo Health of Philadelphia has opened their own urgent care clinics to bring down the cost of treating their Medicare patients. And the patients love it. Wait times to see the doctor have been greatly reduced, and the emphasis on earlier intervention with lower cost treatment is having a positive impact on Bravo Health's bottom line. I am convinced that programs like this urgent care clinic solution are the key to keeping healthcare both affordable and at a high level of care.
Addressing the cost by limiting benefits or turning Medicare into a voucher program has proven, once again, to be unpopular and, ultimately, ineffective in bringing down the overall costs of care. Healthcare cost reform must go hand-in-hand with innovation in healthcare delivery if we are to move towards a healthcare system that is sustainable.