Changing Medicine. Changing Lives. ®

August 7, 2017

Success on the road ahead

As University of Iowa Health Care enters a new fiscal year, we had expected to have more clarity regarding the national plan for health care. While we continue to monitor activity in Washington, D.C., it appears unlikely that we will have answers anytime soon to the challenges facing the nation, the state, and UI Health Care.

Despite the uncertainties surrounding the future of health care, there are some things we do know.

We know that the rise in health care costs is not sustainable for taxpayers, employers and families. Health spending is 18 percent of the U.S. economy and projected to continue to rise in the next 10 years. In 2016, the average American family of four spent $25,826 on health insurance, almost 50 percent of the average family’s income. We need to be part of the solution and continue to work on reducing costs.

We know that the rate of change will continue at a fast pace for institutions like UI Health Care that are engaged in delivering health care services, teaching, and research. We will continue to see significant pressures to improve how health care is provided (emphasizing a continuum of care for conditions rather than episodic care) and how services are paid for (quality payments, value payments, bundled payments, and capitation). And, we will continue to feel greater pressure to lower costs through economies of scale.

We also know that no matter what may come, we will continue to serve all the people of Iowa. As the state’s only academic medical center, we have a mandate to provide health care to all Iowans; educate and train the next generation of health care providers; and conduct biomedical research.

With the many challenges facing our organization, it is clear that in order to sustain and grow our tripartite mission we will need everyone’s help to ensure that we have the financial resources to do so.

Fortunately, in our scenario planning sessions for the 2017-2020 Integrated Strategic Plan, we anticipated some of these challenges and the plan addresses many key areas through its five main goals—especially Goal 4: Diversified Financial Resources.

In a series of columns over the next several weeks, I will share more about how the changes and challenges surrounding the provision of health care have affected UI Health Care, as well as how we plan to manage these financial and operational challenges to achieve our FY18 budget goals.

Thank you for all you do to continue to change medicine and change lives.

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