Episode #31 – “Delivering Affordable Healthcare with Dignity” – a Telling Interview with Dr. Josh Luke, former Healthcare CEO and Best-Selling Author

The problem we’ll be addressing in this episode – which is of critical national significance – is the unsustainable burden of healthcare costs.

We’ll cover two major issues: (1) tactics employers can take to avoid unnecessary healthcare costs; and (2) an approach to understanding and addressing a long-standing challenge in healthcare delivery – post acute care.

You should listen to this interview if:

  • You’re not overly concerned about these issues, or don’t feel knowledgeable enough to be concerned.
  • Your provider group is engaged in an Accountable Care Organization, Medicare Shared Savings Program, Medicare Advantage or Bundled Payment Program; or if you’re an employer or payer.
  • You have a family member that may one day end up hospitalized or in a nursing home.

Our guest this week, Josh Luke, is a nationally recognized expert in the post-acute care space, and on healthcare cost strategies in general.  He spent 15 years as a hospital CEO and a senior nursing home administrator – so he has deep knowledge and an insider’s perspective.

Since leaving those roles, his mission has been to assist patients and their families in navigating the opaque archipelago of post-acute care; and to assist individuals & employers in learning how to manage the overwhelming costs of medical care.

Josh is a self-described “truth teller”.  As you’ll hear in this interview, Dr. Luke does not hold back – and with good reason.  He’s got some well defined and thoughtful perspectives, as well as bold practical solutions on how the system needs to change to provide care that is safer, less costly and more dignified.

One example is Josh’s program, ‘Discharge with Dignity’ – an initiative to assure that patients being discharged from hospitals are given a reasonable option to return to their home, instead of being corralled into avoidable, unnecessarily lengthy, and costly post-acute care facility stays.  His protocol is being used across the country to train physicians and other providers.

Another example – Josh will discuss the main points of his most recently published book, ‘Health-Wealth: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery’.  He’ll share the specific tactics that employers can take to reduce unnecessary costs and optimize their healthcare spend.

From the employee or individual’s perspective, Josh will introduce us all to his “3 P’s” of becoming an “Engaged Healthcare Consumer” (EHC).

If you’re still wondering what all of this has to do with ‘dignity’, here’s what I garnered from listening to Josh.  Healthcare with dignity includes: (1) making what we do in healthcare – including prices – transparent, and easily understandable to patients, families & employers; (2) giving patients real choices that take into account their preferences (keep in mind that the AARP has repeatedly documented that over 97% of people want to go home after a hospitalization, and not to a nursing home); and (3) considering the quality, safety & cost factors first, rather than the business imperatives; or more bluntly put, being patient-centered rather than profit-centered.

Dr. Josh Luke’s honesty and openness is refreshing and much needed.  He sheds a revealing light and a helpful set of approaches to issues that have been hidden and confusing for decades.

He is clearly purpose-driven and passionate; his perspectives are born of wisdom and backed by data; and his recommendations are forward-thinking, consumer-oriented, value-based and practical.

If you still have some doubts as to the importance of this topic, I’ll leave you with some stats to consider:

  • The Medicare Trust Fund is expected to go bust by 2029 – that’s only 10 years from now – important for those of us who are expecting Medicare to pay our healthcare bills.
  • About 25% of the total costs of Medicare (which make up half of all medical expenditures in the U.S.) are spent on what is termed ‘post acute care’ – nursing homes, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long term acute care hospitals, home health and hospice care.
  • It’s predicted that Millenials (currently 20 to 40 year olds) – who make up the largest employee demographic in the country – will spend over 50% of their lifetime earnings on healthcare.

As always, I hope you get as much out of this interview as I have.