Blog | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More from Emanuel

I just keep coming across more interesting things in my notes from Ezekiel Emanuel's speech.

For example, he described a cooperative program between Starbucks and the Virginia Mason health care systems. Starbucks employees were frequently going to the doctor complaining of back pain (no suprise in an on-your-feet, heavy lifting job) and it was costing the company in medical expenses and sick time. So Starbucks and Virginia Mason made a deal to get these employees the most cost-effective, evidence-based care. In other words, fewer pointless MRIs and more physical therapy. Employees got less medical care but better outcomes. Of course, under the current reimbursement system, the result was less money for Virginia Mason, so they made a deal with Starbucks to get paid a little more for physical therapy to make the overall savings benefit everyone involved.

Not sure if this is a happy story about effective cooperation, or a horrifying example of how dysfunctional our current health care system is.