WellPoint brings together industry experts and the top health care organizations to share important information and commentary with the entire health care community.
Taking a close look at our nation’s health care spending reveals that the unnecessary use of health care services results in poorer health outcomes and higher costs. One component of rising and, in some cases, unnecessary use of care is through hospital emergency rooms. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of emergency visits increased by more than 50 percent, exceeding 150 million visits . Surprisingly, privately insured patients, and not the uninsured, account for most of the recent rise in emergency room visits.
Since 2007 we've seen the start of an awakening, among the public and among clinicians. The pioneers have been out there since the 90s, but they were in stealth mode. The biggest external influence of course was the 2009 stimulus bill, which has led to incentives and penalties in Meaningful Use, including patient and family engagement. Looking ahead to 2017, we'll see digital natives reaching adulthood: the Web was born in 1994, and kids born then will hit 21 in 2015.
The 2010 landmark report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “The Future of Nursing,” details that the United States has an opportunity to transform its health care system and how nurses can and should play a fundamental role in this transformation. As an advocate for change and improving the quality of health care in our communities, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) focuses on five guiding principles: access, cost, quality, leadership and workforce.
In 1965 when Medicare was created, its focus was acute-care. It covered trips to the hospital and trips to the doctor’s office, but rarely, if ever, covered preventative care. It wasn't until after the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 that Medicare started covering preventative services, including a "Welcome to Medicare" physical, other screening exams, and most prescription drugs. Before then, Medicare rarely focused on keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital.