We’ve always been told that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. In 21st Century America you can add one certainty: the ever changing face of healthcare.
Apparently, back in the dim distant past, people used to get sick, go to a doctor, get cured, and go home. We’d pay the doctor for his or her services, and everybody would walk away happy.
That was a long time ago. Now you go to a doctor, you get a battery of tests, you get referred to another doctor who specializes in what may or may not be wrong with you, your insurance company refuses to cover the tests the doctor wants, your prescription plan doesn’t cover the medications you need, your doctor’s large office staff spends weeks sorting out what your insurance company owes the doctor and what you owe, and you end up with a gigantic bill and a worse headache than whatever it was that drove you to the doctor in the first place.
And everybody you know has a worse story than you about their own medical misadventures.
In the face of this, there are truly good people in the medical field who are working to deliver better outcomes for both doctors and patients. And to change the nature of healthcare system itself.
Blaine Lindsey is the Vice President of Growth Strategy of a company called Aledade Louisiana. Aledade is a relatively new type of care company, called an ACO – an Accountable Care Organization. Aledade’s function is to move healthcare from a user-pays model – where you pay the doctor for treating you each time you are sick – to an outcome based model where the doctor gets paid for keeping you healthy and not having to visit the clinic.
Most of us have very little idea about how the business side of medical institutions work. Many doctors themselves don’t understand how the complex mechanics of the healthcare delivery system work. Dr. Andy Blalock is not one of them.
Andy is a nephrologist – a kidney specialist – and also the Chief Medical Officer at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Our Lady of Lourdes has been in Lafayette since 1949 and maintains a dual purpose – to provide the best in cutting edge medical care, and to provide for those who may least be able to afford it.
This episode of Out to Lunch is hosted by Peter Ricchiuti and recorded over lunch at Cafe Vermilionville. Photos by Gwen Aucoin.
Discussion of tele-medicine and other advances in Acadiana healthcare over lunch with Out to Lunch Christiaan Mader is here.