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Global Business Forum Signature Panel Brings Together Voices From Across Health Care Industry to Offer Solutions for Containing Costs

January 13, 2011
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There is no silver bullet that can magically reign in health care costs. That according to a panel of industry leaders who shared their thoughts during the signature panel session that capped off the second day of the University of Miami Global Business Forum Jan. 13. The panelists, representing the views of the health insurance industry, physicians, and hospitals and rarely, if ever in the same room at the same time, instead offered a variety of solutions that would help contain costs. They concluded that many Americans expect more from their health care than they’re willing to pay for.


 Pictured (l-r) Cecil B. Wilson, Richard J. Umbdenstock, Michael Tuffin, Richard L. Clarke, and Donna E. Shalala

Several of the panelists talked about ways to change the way health care providers are paid, incentivizing positive outcomes rather than paying per hospitalization, procedure or doctor visit, which doesn’t encourage providers to practice preventative medicine.

“What makes more sense is to change the incentive of the payment system so that it drives the care models that we already understand are appropriate,” explained Richard L. Clarke, president and chief executive officer of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, during the session, which was moderated by University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.

Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association, said more research is needed to determine which treatments are most effective.

Richard J. Umbdenstock, president and chief executive of the American Hospital Association, echoed the comments of several of the panelists when he said part of the problem lies with the consumers, who he said view their health care insurance as “prepaid health care.”

“We have to get to the point where most of us say ‘My God am I glad I didn’t need it,’’’ he said. “That’s insurance.”

He also pointed out that many of the same people who are demanding lower health care costs rely on health care companies to be profitable.

“How many of us have health care stocks in our 401K and count on them for our retirement?” he said. “You can’t have it both ways.”


 A packed auditorium for the the signature panel, with Steven
 Ullmann, director of programs in health sector management
 and policy at the School of Business Administration, in the


Wilson noted that 75 percent of health care spending goes to treat preventable diseases and said that even as patients declined to make lifestyle changes that would make them healthier, they demanded the latest test as soon as it was covered.

“It’s hard to escape the conclusion that what people want is unlimited access to care and someone else to pay for it,” said Michael Tuffin, executive vice president of the industry organization America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The three-day Global Business Forum features some of the world’s most prominent health care industry thought leaders. In addition to the keynote addresses, the Forum includes more than 30 panel sessions organized in six tracks, including economics and health care, aging, innovation, wellness and prevention, global health issues and hospital design, technology and delivery systems of the future.

The Forum's key sponsors include BlueCross BlueShield of Florida and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. You can follow the Forum conversation on Twitter by searching hash tag #GBF2011. Updates will also be posted here on the School of Business website throughout the Forum.


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