Hospitals accelerate cost-cutting efforts

With a push from private insurers, employers and government officials, the industry is seeing hospitals and health systems step up efforts to control escalating healthcare costs, reports The New York Times.

For example, to save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years, UCLA Health System is enrolling young patients with complex conditions in medical homes. The system also is putting imaging procedures under closer scrutiny, according to the article.

Meanwhile the Cleveland Clinic is experimenting with group visits so physicians can see more diabetic patients at a lower cost. It's also started providing doctors with cost information to prevent unnecessary blood transfusions, notes the NYT.

Facing cuts from the government, Phoenix-based Banner Health is launching cost-cutting initiatives like facility reconfiguration and technology upgrades to save $150 million over the next year, according to the Northern Colorado Business Report. For instance, North Colorado Medical Center is reorganizing floors to increase efficiency and improve patient experience, while McKee Medical Center is utilizing robotics for less-invasive procedures to shorten length of stay.

"We know there's a healthcare storm on the horizon," McKee CEO Marilyn Schock told the Business Report. "The best we can do right now is try to predict where cuts and shortfalls are going to be, and make good business decisions while still focusing on patient care."

The cost-cutting fervor also has reached Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The medical center is focusing on energy conservation, supply chain management and revenue-cycle improvements, among initiatives, to save funds.

For more:
- read the NYT article
- here's the Northern Colorado Business Report article
- read the Winston-Salem Journal article