Proof that hospital costs are not immutable

In the hospital cost shifting debate, some implicitly assume that hospital costs are immutable. Today we have proof that they are not.

[Massachusetts’] largest health care system says it will redesign care for thousands of patients and reduce administrative costs as part of a major new initiative intended in part to make treatment at its teaching hospitals more affordable.

Partners HealthCare, a physician and hospital organization that includes Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, also plans to launch a “public education campaign’’ early next year to improve its image, which has taken a pounding this year in the debate over soaring health care costs. […]

So far, Partners has decided to redesign care for patients with colon cancer, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, aiming to lower the cost and improve the quality of treatment. Teams of doctors and executives are analyzing current care for these patients, including which steps are associated with the best results, and the extent of wasteful care, such as duplicative imaging tests, preventable readmissions to the hospital, and medical errors that lead to more care. The teams must develop plans by January.

Source: Liz Kowalczyk, The Boston Globe.

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