Insured Suffering, Too

Ripe from the NYTimes two days ago, our very own Richard Lander, M.D., quoted:

Parents "are waiting longer to bring in their children," said Dr. Richard Lander, a pediatrician in Livingston, N.J. "They say, ‘The kid isn't that sick; her temperature is only 102.' "

The piece is about how employee contributions, HDHPs - and a burden shift to those who happen to be sick - is causing even those who are "insured" to feel the pinch, to say the least.

My biggest takeaway from the piece: our share of disposable income spent on healthcare is now larger than food, clothing..and even housing! (Check out the graphic.)

We (PCC) have seen this for almost two years already. Without formal recall systems in place, some of our clients have seen their visit rates decline. Some slowly, some immediately. It's crucial for pediatricians to explain to their patients why those 8yo physicals are so important and why it's vital to get those ear/eye exams. Unfortunately, you are competing with all the other chances families have to spend money - haircuts, Nintendo Wiis (or whatever the plural is), eating out, etc. I can work hard with a client and get them to raise their Revenue/Visit by 20%...but if their visit rates drop by 25%, they lose ground. And it's happened.

Meanwhile, I'd like to think that all these folks we know being quoted in the Times, Medical Economics, etc., is a sign of being a PCC client and/or PedTalk member, but I think the correlation to SOAPM is a big stronger :-) That said, what a treat it is (and testament to their hard work) that so many pediatricians are being sought after for an understanding of what is really happening in our business.