The future of the healthcare business…

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Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, Barrington, New Hampshire, commented, “If any of you in the healthcare business think we haven’t ‘been here before,’ you are either too young or ill-informed, or both.”

Dr. O’Connell noted that there was the Hillary Clinton sponsored shake up of healthcare in 1993-1994.  After considerable hand wringing, that went NOWHERE, but did generate a good deal of intellectual sparring over new concepts such as capitation and gatekeeper models.  ACA, aka “Obamacare,” takes some of its roots from back then, but also derives groundwork from the early 2000s and arguably somewhat useful experiments in healthcare reform at the state level, such as “Romneycare” in Massachusetts.

Since passage, ACA has made some positive inroads (e.g., elimination of “prior existing” policies and mandated coverage of college student dependents) though its future provisions are still in doubt given lack of public, medical, hospital, and pharma support.

So what are healthcare administrators to do?  Answer; prepare REASONABLY for just about anything.

1.   Have to cover all bases (ACA survives/ACA dies), but with relationships, NOT by pulling the trigger…don’t be like all those hospitals who were suckered into purchasing family practices in the 1990s, then were stuck practicing medicine, and with unproductive cost centers.

2.   Diversify by leasing space, trialing technology (not buying and getting locked in and potentially hosed again, should dynamics change).

3.   Momentum has already swung to EBM (evidence based medicine).  Embrace and play the game well.  My strong opinion is that resorting to textbook, ‘recipe driven’ medicine will not work, and totally ignores the art of medicine, but it may require years/decades before this fact is discovered.

4.   Seek ‘cash on barrelhead’ opportunities such as quick care centers, laser resurfacing, etc.

5.   Become more horizontal…spread out to numerous sites to increase market exposure, but be sure to have the infrastructure and solid IT to support this.

6.   Fill niche services not performed by competition.

About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see:

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