What Happened to the US Medical System?

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Welcome to the latest episode of Unlocking Your Greatness with Wendy Bjork. As an international bestselling author, inspirational speaker and founder of heartsofwellness.com, it is my mission to empower women feeling lost in the medical system who want a holistic approach to their life. To feel HOPE: harmony, options, peace and empowerment to help others along the way.


Are we being left in the dark when it comes to healthcare?


We’ve heard many times that America’s bloated, Kafkaesque healthcare system is collapsing. It’s been used to describe the plight of hospitals in all over the United States. In Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama; it was a top headline when the flu epidemic hit and hospital systems reached their breaking points. It has even been cited to describe hospitals in New York City.

It seems more and more physicians are retiring creating longer wait times for appointments and call backs. The system is in trouble, but that doesn’t mean it is about to collapse. Instead, it’s suffering from symptoms that are the result of chronic underlying policy issues that continue to snowball.

These issues include a misalignment of incentives that has created bloated bureaucracy and over-medicalization. There are a number of initiatives underway to address these problems, including healthcare systems partnering with nursing schools to expand enrollment, accelerated nursing programs, student loan forgiveness and more. However, it will take significant interventions and investments to develop a sufficient nurse workforce to meet current demand. It will also take time for the benefits of these changes to be fully realized.

Another issue is that healthcare costs have exceeded income growth by a wide margin for decades. This has led to a growing disconnect between what patients value and what the system delivers. For example, many hospitals prioritize revenue-generating procedures over quality of care, and they often focus on generating cash rather than the health maintenance of their communities.

Administrative costs are also much higher in the US than in other countries. These costs come from claims processing, prior authorizations, eligibility determinations, and other activities that don’t directly improve patient outcomes. These costs are part of what drives high US healthcare prices.

A third issue is the fragmented nature of healthcare in the United States. Patients receive care in a variety of settings, and this can lead to confusion and poor coordination of services. For example, a doctor may prescribe medicines that have dangerous interactions with other medications the patient is taking. And patients may have to repeat tests because results of previous visits are not communicated to other doctors.

In addition, the system is plagued with waste and inefficiency. For example, the American College of Physicians has found that more than half of the healthcare dollars it spends is wasted on unnecessary or inappropriate care.

The good news is that America has unique strengths – entrepreneurship, research pedigree and risk capital – that can catalyze healthcare transformation. Innovations in physician-patient partnerships, transparency on price/quality and lean non-profit care management offer glimmers of hope for a more effective and affordable healthcare system. The question is whether there is the courage, will and vision to change this system from the inside out. If we don’t, the status quo is a death spiral that will leave too many behind. It’s time to stop waiting for the system to collapse and start building something better.

Becoming your own healthcare advocate is more important than ever as well as keeping tracking of your own medical history. It’s no longer responsible to allow the power of your healthcare to be held in other people’s hands, as reflected in my article here ~ Are You Prepared for a Medical Record Breach?

To support you on this path, download your copy of the Hearts of Wellness 30-Day Journal + Blueprint Bundle Towards Living Your Best Life at heartsofwellness.com/you. It will support you in keeping notes for your doctor all in one place along with the Blueprint to take small steps daily towards a better view of yourself with improved self talk, writing your weekly gratitude list and celebrating your weekly wins. Discovering and living by your personalized playbook are important steps we can create together!


If you feel a self-paced approach with Wendy’s support would be helpful in reaching your goals, you can head over to the Hearts of Wellness Membership Collective and begin your journey back to simplicity, freedom and wholeness!


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