It’s been said many times: Follow the money … and I believe it also applies to our healthcare system. Let me explain why 100,000 full-time and well trained health coaches in the US will fix the US healthcare system, save $ BILLIONS in healthcare costs; why it’s not a dream but a necessity and a reality we’ll see sooner than we think.
Here we go:
The U.S. healthcare cost skyrocketed to $3.65 Trillion in 2018 and projections indicate an increase by at least 5.5% annually over the next decade. This number is so huge that you really have to see it numerically:
Just think about this: The US health spending accounted for 17.9 percent of GDP which is over $10,739 per person. (1)
We also know that over 80% of today’s healthcare costs are connected to non-communicable (chronic) lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, pain, Alzheimer’s, Anxiety, Depression and other auto-immune disorders. (2)
Traditional medicine solutions are mostly focused on “managing” these very expensive conditions and even new advances in technology won’t change this downward spiral because they are not designed or meant to address the root-causes and reverse chronic symptoms.
There is vast agreement between health professionals, governments and patients that this is not sustainable and more importantly that we won’t solve the healthcare crisis without new innovative ideas.
Now, here is my proposal:
We invest in doctors “prescribing Lifestyle Medicine” and “Health Coaches” on a national and global scale!
Hear me out.
We decide to invest 2% of the current healthcare cost into qualified and well-trained root-cause trained Lifestyle Medicine Health Coaches. Research studies have shown that the reduction of bypass surgery and stents can save $30,000 per patient in the first year alone therefore cutting healthcare costs by 50% in the first year.
It’s safe to estimate that healthcare cost savings of 2-10% annually are absolutely possible. (3)
WOW, that’s a whooping $73-365 BILLION in SAVINGS.
Depending on some variables and current annual healthcare expenses of $3,650,000,000,000 we save:
- $73,000,000,000 (2% or $73 Billion saved)
- $182,500,000,000 (5% or $182 Billion saved)
- $365,000,000,000 (10% or $365 Billion saved)
Let’s be conservative and take the next step in this new Lifestyle Medicine and Health Coach focused healthcare model. How could we create a win-win-win situation with new high paying and fulfilling jobs created, the strain on current health professionals eased and most important health and productivity of people improved?
Stay with me … here’s how:
- 328,000,000 people living in the US
- 120,000,000 (120 Million) households
- 25,000,000 high-risk households that need coaching (about 20%)
- 250 households (about 1,000 individuals) are supported by one health coach
- 100,000 health coaches are needed to coach about 100 Million individuals
- Each health coach receives approx. $73,000 Annual Income/Reimbursement
- For 100,000 health coaches this equals $7,300,000,000 or ONLY 0.2% of the annual healthcare cost)
Now, you might ask what are these health coaches going to do?
Because health coaches are paid properly they can focus 100% of their time and skills to help chronic disease patients shift their unhealthy habits to
- Eat better
- Exercise more
- Stress less
- Love more.
Addressing the root-causes will not just help manage symptoms, it will help reverse them, improve health and save billions in healthcare costs that would have gone towards disease management.
Each health coach is responsible for supporting his/her patients using:
- Health Coaching Group Sessions
- Working with individual or family in personal consultations
- Prescribing Lifestyle Medicine or Root-Cause Lifestyle Prescriptions®
- Engaging clients to establish healthy habits
- Providing support and helping clients overcome challenges
Naturally, the best part is that people’s health and lives will improve, relationships will become more meaningful and individuals will live longer and healthier. Productivity and quality of life will improve accordingly.
Just think about what we could do with the additional healthcare cost savings:
- Re-invested into Lifestyle Medicine and Prevention research
- Lower healthcare costs for businesses and families?
- Repay our national depth?
- The possibilities are endless …
PS: Lets summarize:
We invest 0.2% of current annual healthcare expenditures into 100,000 highly qualified and efficient root-cause trained Lifestyle Medicine Health Coaches working with 250 households each; covering 25 million high-risk house holds; improving health outcomes, productivity & quality of life for 100,000,000 (100 Million) people and save billions in healthcare costs in return.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
The only problem is that unless we take action and demand new innovations in healthcare based on prevention and lifestyle medicine it won’t happen.
Here’s a solution:
- SHARE this article to everyone you know especially health professionals, insurance and government decision makers!
- DEMAND CHOICES. Ask your doctor to prescribe Lifestyle Medicine and refer you to a health coach. or root-cause based Health Coaching. If NOT you can always find a new doctor or clinic.
Johannes R. Fisslinger
1)https://fortune.com/2019/02/21/us-health-care-costs-2/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6211719/