Berwick: Ever-rising healthcare costs will interfere with U.S. growth

Former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D., said on Tuesday that the U.S. healthcare system must be able to get its costs under control, or that it would interfere with other national priorities. Berwick, a keynote speaker at the Healthcare Financial Management Association annual national institute in Orlando, said an ever-expanding healthcare system would interfere with the ability to give workers higher wages, improve infrastructure and other priorities in the U.S. 

"It's not going to be possible to maintain high (healthcare) prices," Berwick said. He cited several examples of high-quality, cost-effective healthcare in the U.S. and elsewhere, including the SouthCentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, which provides care for Native Americans in the region. In recent years, Berwick noted that SouthCentral's Nuka System of Care reduced emergency room use among its patients by 50 percent, and cut hospital admissions by 53 percent--all at a cost of about two-thirds of other providers."Put patients first, and give the money back," Berwick said. Article