"Because of inflation, I think people have to make tough choices,” Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, said. “They have to decide, am I going to pay the rent? Am I going to buy food? Or am I going to get medical care that I could have now or later?”
Some hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open as borrowing costs increase. For rural hospitals that have to borrow to cover expenses, “the higher interest rates are going to be very difficult for them to manage,” said Vivan Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics.
“It’s a reasonable solution for people with minor conditions that can’t wait for primary care providers,” said Vivan Ho, Chair in Health Economics, of the boom in urgent care centers. “When you need constant management of a chronic illness, you should not go there.”
Beyond wait time, the main difference between urgent care and the ER is proven revenue-driven strategies. “We live in a fee-for-service world, so the more patients you see, the more money you make,” explained Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics.
Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, was interviewed about her latest study comparing prices at three Houston-area hospitals: Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Houston Methodist and Memorial Hermann. She found that mean hospital prices were highest at Methodist and lowest at St. Luke's for both BCBSTX and UnitedHealthcare PPO coverage.