How Hospitals Maintain Relevancy in the Competitive Industry
Les Hirsch, Interim CEO & President of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, discusses the state of healthcare today and what hospitals are doing to stay relevant in this competitive industry. He also talks about Saint Peter’s recent program that teaches students about the harmful effects of opioids, and the epidemic NJ is facing.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in beautiful Brick City, Newark, New Jersey. We're pleased to welcome, for the first time, Les Hirsch, Interim CEO and President of Saint Peter's Healthcare System. Good to see you Les. Steve, happy to be here with you this morning. You've had... you and I have had a whole series of conversations off camera about the state of healthcare. Where are we today? And how has competition changed? Oh it's dramatically changed. I'd say that the biggest factor driving change in healthcare is really the cost. In this country, we are the most expensive of any industrialized nation in the world. About 17% of gross domestic product. And if something doesn't change over the next ten years, it'll be over 20%, and healthcare costs are projected to increase about 5% a year. And why is that a problem Les? Well the problem is, you know, just in terms of the size of it as a percentage of the economy is just huge. I mean we are much greater so, you know what we see today is a push to drive costs down, and then you add science, technology, and healthcare delivery is changing. I mean I work in a hospital, and have for almost 40 years, in different hospitals, but hospitals are no longer necessarily the center of the universe when it comes to healthcare. There are many other competitors that we have today. The way healthcare delivery is changing. It's a different environment. Example? We were talking about the CVS piece. I told you, at our CVS in town... Yeah. ...you can do what you have to do in a regular CVS, but then they got this clinic? Right. And if you think about it, I mean, when we grew up, we remember neighborhood pharmacies. Right. Sporting goods stores. Any kind of neighborhood store. And then the big box stores. And it became very corporate. Well now those same organizations, they have clinics. They're seeing millions and millions of patients a year in these clinics. You know, what potential...? When you at Amazon, a company like Amazon, with all of its reach, and when you think about access to a population, and if you tie in Amazon together with an insurance provider, I mean who knows you know, how the future will turn? But healthcare delivery is changing dramatically. How tough to lead a hospital? You have to make tough decisions about economics, about the number of employees you have. Yes. About just keeping costs down while providing quality care. Talk..."