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Keith Salzman: On U.S. Funding of Healthcare and Social Services

Keith-SalzmanKeith Salzman, IBM chief medical information officer for global business services, said the U.S. government under utilizes one third of its $3 trillion healthcare spending.

Salzman wrote in a blog post published Tuesday the government should reallocate “misapplied” healthcare investment to social services initiatives to optimize the health of individuals without spending more.

Compared with other countries the U.S. overspends on healthcare services and underspends on social services highlighting the disconnect in the funding of services.

“Remember that healthcare can affect about 10% of the beneficiary’s experience of health while other factors: socioeconomic status, environment, education, behavior (social determinants of health) account for roughly 60%,” Salzman wrote.

He noted the New Jersey-based Camden Coalition of healthcare providers saw lower costs, hospitalization rates and use of outpatient services when they worked to address healthcare issues directly.

Salzman added the Camden Coalition is conducting a study that involves 800 patients in efforts to determine whether direct intervention for “high utilizers” with chronic medical conditions affects outcomes.

 

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