CarevilleTV: Community Healthcare Clinics Can Provide Fertile Soil for Healthcare Improvements

I sat in on
a gracious invite to moderate IPayX's Healthcare Improvement Webinar (positioned
at MBProject as part of our "Banking on Better Healthcare Series" – see here), which collected opinions from participants for the Obama Healthcare Initiative. On the call sat a patient accounting executive from a world renoun academic health center, a large healthcare IT services firm and the IPayX team. It was
small but the content was rich (see this SlideShare).

Douglas
Braun, who runs IPayX, was able to describe the Obama healthcare plan in three
bold strokes; (1) improve infrastructure; (2) expand coverage to all Americans;
(3) improve prevention and public health. While we didn't get to the all
important cost factor, we were able to hear a series of interesting
observations, some from the Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt
University, Dr. Harry Jacobson. Dr. Jacobson addressed the 2009 Medical Banking
Leadership Forum, where some 55 banking and healthcare leaders attended
to discuss the future of medical banking in a "credit-broken" economy. Some of his analyses were presented in the slide deck, comparing healthcare costs in the US versus other areas of the world. Looking at our healthcare "problematique" within a global context is very helpful, I believe, in forming constructive frameworks that could point to solutions.

Interestingly during the Forum, MBProject also focused on
three key areas: (1) improving healthcare infrastructure and using those savings
to expand coverage to more Americans (the mission of MBProject is to 'convert digital savings
into charitable resources'); (2) how to extrapolate and capitalize on business
intelligence running through medical banking platforms; and (3) implementing a
personalized healthcare platform for increasingly sophisticated medical
consumers – one that could include comparing healthcare resources in a
community, educating consumers on wellness and prevention (a key issue arising
in employer circles that talk about optimizing human capital), using a
card-based system for managing a personal healthcare record and providing tools
to better manage HSAs – a "health-wealth portal" play.

As I sat on the call
and heard the opinions, (supplying many of my own), I saw more clearly that our
areas of focus in the medical banking community align well with the stated
objectives of the Obama Administration. We have much to offer former Senator Tom
Daschle's (D-SD) new team as they sift through ideas…and a healthy dose of
respect for the challenge that lies ahead that will require all stakeholder
hands on deck.

One of my
moments of clarity came from Obama's call for investing in communities. This is
an agenda item for which we not only made a call for support among our bank
members, noting that banks may be defined as good corporate citizens with access
to credit (the latter being challenged today but still holding true), but an
Action Plan called "Charitable Communities Network" and later rebranded to
"CarevilleTV". After making an investment in this concept, that brings together
so many of the community anchors and technologies that can support "healthier
communities", I challenged banks to follow our lead in 2003. We got some bites
but not enough to crank up the model and see if it really works…yet!

An article
published by the The New York Times reads, reporting from
Nashville,…"Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have
ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care
legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community
health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically
underserved areas." The IPayX webinar, this article, and our focus at MBProject lead me to a startling conclusion – that the community healthcare clinic setting should become an area of focus for the Obama Administration.

In the
safety net setting we can test and deploy new technologies without the typical
"game politic". We can get much done that is instructive to the greater
healthcare establishment. I strongly believe that we must not race towards a
digital economy in healthcare while leaving the safety net behind – nor should
we! These "beacons of light" – community clinics dotting the American landscape
– can serve a dual purpose to both help the underserved/unbanked as well
as offering a critical testing and staging ground for the next generation of
technology tools. Of course not all tools can evolve from this setting but my
instincts tell me that many, many innovations can benefit from deployment in a
real world, community clinic healthcare setting. My thoughts to Obama? Target
this area with investment and a way to measure progress along the three critical
fronts – cost, access and quality of care.

I have to
admit, as I reasoned through these ideas during the IPayX call, and after having
talked about CarevilleTV to my entrepenuerially-minded brother-in-law (and
former pastor) over the holidays, the notion of moving forward on the Action
Plan/Business Plan (yes, it is a self-sustaining business model) ignited once
again. Along with other personal reasons involving the passing of my dear sister
(see My Tribute here), I'd like to re-energize our "New Media Initiative" at MBProject. The idea was
ahead of its time but that is no longer an excuse. We must push medical banking
into the mainstream of our everyday community-oriented lives. CarevilleTV offers
a plan to do just that. For more information on CarevilleTV (rebranded from
CCN), see this.

John Casillas
johnc at mbproject.org
Chair, Medical Banking Institute
Executive Director, Medical Banking Project
401 Pond View Court | Franklin, TN | 37064
Phone: 615.794.2009 Ext. 114 | Fax: 615-468-7606
http://www.mbproject.org