Last updated: August 23. 2013 5:23PM - 109 Views

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LIMA ?? Indicative of where we are as a nation, amid St. Rita's Health Partners CEO Jim Reber's talk Monday about the staggeringly expensive future of health care, the crowd's strongest reaction came with the news that the hospital's french fries are no longer fried.Every day, the fries are now baked. And on no-fry Fridays, the cafeteria serves nothing fried.The future of health care, Reber told the Lima Rotary Club, is expensive. And apparently, no fun at all. While it's behind other industries, health care is catching up fast in its use of technology, and that will mean large changes for patients and their pocketbooks, Reber said.Think of a day when you call a doctor for an antibiotic for a sinus infection, but what you get is a lecture that you haven't followed your diabetes maintenance plan. Think of a day when your doctor orders a blood test that she charges $60 for, but you can find a lab with a phone app that charges $30. And if you don't pick the $30 lab, you owe your health insurance $30. Think of a day when Medicare sends your doctor a letter for giving patients too many expensive prescriptions and not enough cheaper ones.That future will most likely include high-deductible health insurance with health savings accounts and incentives for people to take better care of themselves and financial incentives (like that blood test scenario) for people to pay attention to what their care choices cost.??It's amazing how human behavior changes with things north of $5,? Reber said.Reber spent more than 20 years as St. Rita's Medical Center CEO before the hospital restructured and in 2010 became CEO of St. Rita's Health Partners, an umbrella organization for new health operations and partnerships beyond the medical center.Reber, 65, belongs to a significant population group: Baby boomer senior citizens, that will most likely lead to a physician shortage in the United States.Reber sees another doctor trend: Physicians no longer wanting to be in private practice, because the government and health insurance companies make it too expensive and too complicated. It's one of the reasons St. Rita's formed Health Partners. The company now oversees St. Rita's Professional Services, which manages doctor's offices. Professional Services has 60 doctors and 300 employees. Health Partners also includes things such as North Central Ohio Physician Services. The group is a partnership with Lima Memorial Health System that recruits surgeons to Lima.All of the changes in the industry are trying to address the chief issue: cost. U.S. health care spending is not performance-based and not correlated to longer life expectancy, Reber said. But it is a big bunch of cash. United States health care spending as percentage of gross domestic product is twice the average of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries, Reber said.??Federal spending on health care now is 16 percent of GDP,? Reber said. ??At that rate, we'll soon be a gigantic health plan that happens to own a military.?You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

St. Rita’s CEO: Health care future expensive

St. Rita’s CEO: Health care future expensive
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