Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt) says the debate surrounding health care in Washington has been a bitter one. But when it comes to health care costs, it's the patients not politicians, who are having to swallow a bitter pill -- rising prices.
People like hospital employee Linda Gravell, who needs surgery. "Deductibles are going up, insurance benefits are going down and usually I have to make up the difference," Gravell said.
"Focused on cost is absolutely essential to the future of heath care," Welch said. But he says costs are often out of patients' control. "People who get a health care bill are totally frustrated because you don't know what you are going to get charged, you have no control over it and you can't negotiate it," he said.
Welch told the audience at Datrmouth Hitchcock's health policy grand rounds that more transparency and competition are needed -- items he says are addressed in the Affordable Care Act. But facilities like Dartmouth-Hitchcock also have a lot at stake and Welch says that many more issues need attention. "How do the new payment models work? What do we need to do to make adjustments so we can get good quality and sustainable funding for our providers?" he said.
In this case DHMC has long been a proponent of turning away from the fee-for-service model that rewards a system of more procedures -- which officials say raises costs. "It really makes things challenging. You are literally looking for a way to reduce your revenue. And hooray for this system, that the culture is such that we all accept that," said DHMC's Frank McDougall.
Instead, the Medical Center is focused on improving outcomes more efficiently -- examining how health care is delivered. But looking ahead, officials here all agree that progress is hard to make with things like failing websites standing in the way. "I think the website is a debacle and that is unfortunate because it's going to delay the time for people to see how and if this works," McDougall said.
Gravell has coverage through this facility but she is also looking toward the future -- making sure her family has the health care it needs. "It's traumatic because it is your body. Yeah, it's traumatic," she said.
Congressman Welch says he's optimistic moving forward but he also says people need to come together, including the experts here on the front lines, all with the same goal -- to reduce costs and increase coverage for everyone.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:58 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:58:11 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
A Montgomery farmer and a sheriff's deputy joined forces for a daring rescue to help a woman who got trapped in her truck by rising floodwaters.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>