Q: So what will happen to hospitals? It sounds like you hate them.
May 1, 2015
"So what will happen to hospitals? It sounds like you hate them."
This was a question posed by a business friend of mine. First off, I love capitalism. I think it's great. And I don't hate hospitals. They were instrumental in making advancements in medicine through research and clinical policies. I think a good hospital is worth its weight in gold.
But I began to notice the funniest thing. Hospitals began to look more and more like hotels. Yes, I do believe that pretty things provide a nice aesthetic that promotes healing. There are studies that spout the benefits of windows to help with circadian rhythms, greenery to provide a healthy atmosphere, space to allow family to come and be supportive – I get it.
But when you look at most hospitals now, with grand pianos, marbled floors, bamboo wall paneling, ginormous televisions in front of story-high water features – it blows my mind to think that any of that has anything to do with healing.
Yes, I have heard the argument time and again: hospitals are now competing with the best of the best to entice patients to come to their hospital rather than their competitor. I get it. And this is perfectly fine in a strict business philosophy.
Unfortunately, through the perverse incentive of Medicare and Medicaid, government and commercial insurance have encouraged overbuilding and over-bedazzled buildings meant to house people while they are healing. I find it humorous and heartening that there's a movement to do more care at home rather than in a hospital.
Under the P.S.Y.C.H. plan, hospitals will be exposed and treated for what they are: businesses. They will be allowed under their own funds to build and deck out their halls with whatever they want. And people will be able to pay their bills – using either money from the general fund or from their reasonably priced private insurance – and they'll go home.
Yes, lots of current hospitals will likely go out of business. I say convert them to nifty apartment complexes or dorms for college students. But there will be other hospitals that will change their business strategy, streamline their offerings, become more efficient and safe, and meet the actual needs of American health care consumers.