LIMA — Health insurance has become something that Americans are struggling to afford but often feel entitled to, according to Lima Memorial Health System President and CEO Mike Swick.
Healthcare spending in 2016 has increased by 4.3 percent, amounting to $33 trillion, according to Swick. By the year 2025, it is estimated that a family of four with an annual income of $70,000 will not be able to afford their copay.
“They are going to avoid getting healthcare, which is worse because then its becomes catastrophic care at the end of the day,” said Swick during Monday’s Lima Rotary Club meeting at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. “This is problem that we are seeing here, as well.”
Last year, Lima Memorial Health System generated $3 trillion in economic activity in the community and donated $37 million to charities.
“Every dollar we generate stays in the community,” said Swick. “I’m a firm believer that healthcare is a community or local issue, so we are able to do that with our board and ourselves. We are in a position where we can make decisions that are best for the community.”
Aside from unaffordable healthcare, there has been a shortage of between one and two million nurses since 2014, with that trend expected to continue until 2022. In addition to the nurse shortage, by 2025, there will be a shortage of 130,000 physicians.
In order to recruit and retain highly-qualified associates, Swick believes that healthcare organizations need to develop ways to engage, educate, and recognize them, as well as create a favorable work environment.
Currently, health care systems like Lima Memorial are focusing more on outpatient care, according to Swick. Additionally, healthcare systems are moving toward electronic medical records, patient portals and telemedicine, which will allow patients to communicate electronically with their physicians as opposed to meeting in person.
“We are forced as a healthcare system to go outside the four walls because the reality is we want to work on the preventative side,” said Swick. “As a country, we have to move in that direction because if we don’t, we wont be able to afford who and what we are.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.