Pandemic Exposes Weaknesses of U.S. Health System
Miami, FL, May 18, 2020 – The coronavirus has exposed the frailties of an American health care system that is wasteful, mismanaged and burdened by unnecessary administrative costs and bureaucracy that often delay – and prevent – patient care, says noted orthopedic surgeon and now author Alejandro Badia MD, FACS.
His soon-to-be-released book Healthcare from the Trenches details the system barriers that have led to “skyrocketing health costs, lack of patient access and inefficient delivery of care” and comes at a time when some national leaders are calling the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic a “chaotic catastrophe.”
More than 30 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims between mid-March and April 25, 2020 due to business and office closures during the pandemic, and many of these filers find themselves without employer-financed health insurance, according to the Urban Institute. A May 5, 2020 online New York Magazine article reports survey numbers indicating 14 percent of all U.S. adults would avoid treatment if they developed coronavirus symptoms because of health cost issues.
“People are challenged because of a flawed system,” says Dr. Badia, a physician leader who has applied innovative business principles and technology to enhance patient access to health services.
So-called ‘experts’ with zero medical training are hired by insurance companies to dictate what constitutes reimbursable care. Their interference disrupts the doctor-patient relationship, delays or prevents delivery of care and presents obstacles to new approaches that would improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.
Dr. Badia calls his book “an insider’s account of the complex barriers of U.S. health care from the providers’ and patients’ perspective.”
And, he should know, being founder and chief medical officer of the Florida-based OrthoNOW®, a disruptive network of single-specialty, urgent-care centers and the first immediate orthopedic care center in South Florida. Dr. Badia remains a busy hand and upper limb surgeon via the Doral based (Miami) Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, a one-stop shop outpatient facility.
OrthoNOW® combines health care expertise with advanced business principles and the latest technology to offer on-demand access to comprehensive, specialized orthopedic care in one location. Services include an award winning mobile app for “patients to determine the nearest open facility, send relevant pictures and notify our orthopedic team when they are en-route to the center using the “On my Way NOW™ feature. The app will even call our patients an Uber to transport them to our facility,” says Dr. Badia, who knows that transportation is often a patient barrier to care. Furthermore, the OrthoNOW® app was ahead of the Covid19 curve allowing virtual doctor-patient communications – #teleorthopedics, several years before the current crisis.
Since the implementation of the [U.S.] Affordable Care Act, health care in America has devolved into a bureaucratic nightmare,” Dr. Badia states. “What began as incremental interference in the relationship between doctor and patient with the passage of the Medicare Act of 1965 is now an impenetrable barrier made up of governmental and health care insurance industry red tape. The result is higher costs and greater inefficiencies.
Experts concur. An article in a 2017 issue of the Journal of Health Informatics & Management refers to the nation’s health care system as being in “crisis” and indicates the “U.S. health care system consumes far more resources to produce the same or lesser [patient] outcomes as compared to health care systems elsewhere.” The author of the report goes on to say that “powerful interest groups,” including insurance and pharmaceutical companies, hospital organizations, medical equipment firms and information technology businesses have “rigged” the system, sending some 2,400 health care industry representatives to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congressmen.
Early last year (2019), results of a Gallup poll showed 70 percent of Americans believe the U.S. health care system has “major problems” or is in crisis.
“The current COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the problems, further taxing our health care system – and our economy,” Dr. Badia adds. “Despite the political debates and media coverage on health care policy and reform, there remains little or no feedback from the people in the trenches – the physicians and other health care professionals who provide care to the patients.”
More information about Dr. Badia’s upcoming book is available on his web site at https://www.drbadia.com/healthcare-from-the-trenches/.