The work that goes on every day in Oklahoma’s health system transforms lives. Whether it’s providing cost-free care to underserved members of our community, developing cutting-edge solutions to better treat complex diseases, or providing preventative care to keep our community healthy, thousands of lives are touched every day by the work of our state’s nurses. , caregivers and doctors.
We all understand that access to high-quality health care is essential to our quality of life. Similarly, businesses looking to start up or relocate understand the importance of a strong health system. Prospective workers won’t move their families to a new location without knowing they’ll have access to high-quality, affordable care when they get there.
In a world where businesses must compete more than ever to attract talented employees, and as our state works to attract new businesses and industries, a strong community health industry has never been more valuable.
Over the past two years, our industry has worked to continue this life-changing work despite intense challenges and disruptions. We know that the pandemic did not stop the need for liver transplants, chemotherapy or heart surgery – in fact, the stress of the past two years has often increased the need for non-COVID medical care.
Thankfully, we have largely emerged from the pandemic; however, new challenges face our country – supply chain disruptions, staff shortages and record inflation are just a few. These pressures are being felt by families and businesses across Oklahoma, and the health care industry is no different. In the last year, the costs faced by health care providers have increased. Pharmaceutical prices have risen more than 35% since 2019, and supply and labor costs have outpaced inflation as well.
Overcoming the challenge posed by inflation will be difficult, and the solution will require providers and health plans to work together. Working together, we can develop systems to coordinate care and manage complex diseases to keep patients healthy and lower the overall cost of healthcare. This will require collaboration and investment – no single organization can achieve this alone.
Health care leaders are working every day to lower costs because we understand the importance of affordable and accessible health care to our state. As we emerge from two years in which we have thought about health care access more than ever before, providers are ready to work with any partner who values our state’s health system for the community asset that it is.
Timothy Pehrson is president and CEO of Health Integris.