Health care must-reads: The urgent-care puzzle, Amazon and how CEOs should invest their time

This week, health care leaders read about urgent care and whether it will ultimately reduce or increase health care spending (spoiler alert: Urgent care appears to reduce emergency department visits and not just treat people who might not have sought care otherwise). Amazon’s health care plans, where CEOs should spend their time and why wellness is important for value-based care.

Do urgent care centers meet or create demand?

Hospitals, insurers and physicians are interested in urgent care centers for their convenience for patients and potential to reduce costs and the use of emergency services. Researcher Dr. Sabrina Poon said the answer to whether urgent care actually reduces costs may hinge on whether it is creating new demand for care or meeting existing needs, and one study has found emergency department visits increase after closing time for urgent care centers.

Full Story: Managed Care magazine online

Can Amazon be the pioneer for health care disruption?

Speakers at the World Healthcare Congress said Amazon may be the health care disruptor that government and legacy companies cannot be due to perverse incentives that lead to inefficiency, a lack of transparency and higher costs. Civica Rx CEO Martin Van Trieste said Amazon focuses on consumer experience and works outside the status quo, putting it in a position to succeed, and "a stampede" of other companies will follow if it does.

Full Story: Healthcare Dive

CEO: Health care leaders must invest time in their employees

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling said health care leaders have to invest in their employees and described how he spends at least two hours every Monday at an orientation program for new hires. "Healthcare has its challenges, but nothing gets done without teams of people," Dowling writes.

Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review

With recusal, judge in proton beam therapy class action lawsuit shames UHC

UHC has been sued by a Florida attorney for denying coverage of proton beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer patients. The judge in the case, simply by recusing, sends a strong message.

Full Story: MedCity News

Making wellness profitable is key to value-based care

A World Health Care Congress panel discussion on the transition to value-based care touched on high patient costs as a driver and the need to understand community health care needs. "Once we create a model where the profitability of wellness exceeds the profitability of sickness, that's when we'll actually make the full transition to value-based care," said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota CEO Dr. Craig Samitt.

Full Story: The American Journal of Managed Care

Tom Parks is a health editor at SmartBrief who focuses on health care, leadership and nursing as well as care at the beginning and end of life. He launched and edits the SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders newsletter.

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This "most read" feature reflects the most read items in SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders from the previous week. Sign up for SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders to get news like this in your inbox, or check out all of SmartBrief’s health care newsletters, covering health IT, news for insurers, news for providers and more.