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Five Main Health Care Themes in 2013

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The five main themes for health care that the industry needs to successfully navigate in the coming year of unprecedented changes and challenges, according to Deloitte.

With the multitude of changes that need to take place in health care in 2013, the industry is about to learn whether or not it will successfully navigate the challenges ahead. Deloitte has outlined the five main themes for health care in 2013 and where the industry might falter or succeed.

“2013 will be the most important year in the U.S. health care industry in modern history thus far,” wrote Paul Keckley, executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. “Our nation’s fiscal challenges and our industry’s bulk are on a collision course.”

The five themes, according to Keckley are: clarity, costs, compliance, consolidation and consumers.

Clarity

Health care providers and executives have been saying for months now — since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and again when President Obama won re-election — that there’s no real way to know how health care will be affected until the changes from ACA begin to be implemented.

One important, looming date is Oct. 1, 2013, which is when the states will open their health insurance exchanges to enrollment.

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Costs

While health care spending growth slowed in 2012, costs are still a huge concern in health care. According to Deloitte, the gap between the growth of health spending and the growth of the nation’s GDP is unsustainable in the long term.

“But reducing costs in a system where incentives reward doing more, and where each sector’s expense is another’s revenue, means likely skirmishes wherein each asserts their costs are appropriate and the others excessive,” Keckley wrote.

Compliance

Keckly and Deloitte expect that the issue of adherence to evidence-based care will be the centerpiece for regulatory oversight and compliance over the coming years. However, as many health care providers will attest, the U.S. health care system is already highly regulated.

Consolidation

Whether or not you think reports of the death of private practice are exaggerated or accurate, the health care industry has been consolidating for years and Keckley expects that to only increase throughout 2013.

“For most to survive, it’s a choice to go big or get out,” he wrote.

The number of deals involving medical groups increased by 60% in 2012.

Consumers

Patients are no longer simply patients — they’re consumers of the business of health care.

“The U.S. health system has traditionally paid lip service to the notion of ‘consumers’ because it deems every element of our system too complex for comprehension by the general public. This notion is changing,” Keckley wrote.

He added that since health care is so costly, but the service is perceived to be so poor, consumers are demanding more value. Close to two-thirds (62%) of consumers say at least half the money spent on health care is wasted, according to a Deloitte survey.


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