Never forget... the medical industry is Big Business.
Behind every doctor is an administrator... someone whose job it is to go to meetings... type in billing codes... or "adjust" insurance claims.
In the last 50 years, "overhead costs" as a share of health care spending have exploded...
Today, administrative costs make up more than 25% of all U.S. hospital expenditures. According to a study published in health care policy journal Health Affairs, $1 out of every $4 that you spend when you go to a hospital goes to bureaucracy instead of patient care.
This chart measures the relative growth in the salaries of physicians and health care administrators from 1970 to 2009. It's incredible...
All these administrators aren't necessarily the most qualified... but a recent analysis by the New York Times shows that they are the most paid...
The base pay of insurance executives, hospital executives, and even hospital administrators often far outstrips doctors' salaries, according to an analysis performed for the New York Times by Compdata Surveys: $584,000 on average for an insurance chief executive officer, $386,000 for a hospital CEO and $237,000 for a hospital administrator, compared with $306,000 for a surgeon and $185,000 for a general doctor.
All these salaries for administrators add up.
Not so long ago, a hospital was run by one top manager. Usually, a good one.
Today, the CEO has been joined by more C-level executives... for compliance, information technology, quality management, finance, operations, and more. And each of these "chief officers" has to have his own echelon of administrator underlings and mid-level managers.
And the pricey administrative spending doesn't stop at hospitals...
According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, a health care policy organization, American insurers spent more than $600 per person on administrative costs, more than twice as much as in any other developed country.
Next time you get a doctor's bill... ask how much you're paying for someone to "administrate" your care. This spending is often government-led busywork... It means meetings. Coffee-cup carriers. Paper pushers.
Many of these administrators have no clinical experience. But they're increasingly "in charge" of dictating how, when, and where physicians and health care providers work.
And none of it helps you reach your goal: to get well.
The major problem with these business-focused administrators taking over medicine is that no one is measuring the outcomes of the care delivered. And they won't because of the clear conflict of interest. For-profit hospitals are in business to make money, not to worry about good care. And that's leading to exploding prices for things... and worsening care.
Do what I do...
Avoid hospitals and doctors as much as you possibly can. Regular readers know I'm against annual doctor's visits for healthy people. No scientific evidence shows "annual physicals" do anything other than fill the pockets of doctors. And doctors are much too quick to prescribe pills to fix whatever ails you.
Get benefits from whole foods, not pills. I like the Mediterranean diet, which consists of plenty of fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil. And avoid the "white killers" – white flour, sugar, and white rice – instead switch to the whole grain versions.
Take time to meditate. I call meditation the "Easiest Exercise in the World." It only takes 12 minutes a day, and you can do it in bed. People who meditate have lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better oxygen uptake – and report feeling less stressed.
Get up and move. For years, I've written about the importance of moving. Even if it's only a few minutes a day walking around your neighborhood... walking can boost your immunity (which means you'll get sick less), improve your mood, reduce stress, and improve cardiovascular health. I like to get up several times a day to take short walks and often spend time reading and walking on the treadmill in our office.
Each year, I publish a list of the top ways to improve your health.
I started making these lists almost 20 years ago in medical school. I wanted a simple guide, based on science, to share with my friends and family... hoping for a healthier, happier new year.
If you haven't read the 2016 list yet... or want a refresher... click right here to read my top dozen ways to improve your health.
What We're Reading...
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