In this live event, OZY CEO Carlos Watson quizzes Rod Hochman, CEO of Providence and serial entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, about how COVID will change the business of healthcare. In a thought-provoking and engaging exchange, Dr. Hochman and Cuban discuss the digitization of care, the complexity of healthcare pricing, the impending wave of mental health conditions, and their “wish list” for making healthcare coverage more affordable and accessible.
You can watch the full video (60 minutes) below, or read on for some of the top highlights from the discussion.
“I am optimistic. I’m excited about the vaccine trials.” – Rod Hochman
Watson: Talk to me about your history of dealing with viruses and pandemics.
Hochman: I’ve been a physician for 42 years, and I remember being an intern in Boston in the 80s during the onset of the HIV epidemic. I’ve seen a lot of different types of outbreaks. About 5 years ago I was talking about two viruses. One was cyber virus and the other was RNA viruses. People generally understand the cyber virus narrative. But the RNA narrative is more complex. The medical community has been worried about RNA viruses for some time, and we knew [something like COVID] it was not a question of if; it was a question of when.
Relating to trials and a vaccine, we are making some good progress. I am worried about the scale of getting COVID-19 vaccines once we have it to 3 billion people. We need to be working on the logistics. It’s going to take a while, and getting the logistics in place needs to start happening right now.
“The variability of care costs across counties across America just doesn’t make sense.” – Rod Hochman
Watson: What do you think the government has done right and where do they go next?
Cuban: When you look forward. We will have a vaccine. I think where everyone is falling down right now is we’re going through this 180 turnover where people had healthcare to a state where millions of people are unemployed with no health coverage. This is going to create a big financial challenge for hospitals as more and more Medicaid and Medicare patients are going to be seeking care. We’re going to have a mess. Our health care systems are not designed to deal with this today.
You [systems like Providence] lose 9% on Medicare, and that’s a big challenge as that is going to be your biggest carrier in the future. It doesn’t appear that the candidates or the White House are even thinking about this.
“It’s difficult to practice medicine these days because the emphasis is all on financials.” – Mark Cuban
Watson: What are 2-3 things that could be done to make healthcare better for all?
Hochman: ACA wasn’t perfect, but it was a start. When Medicaid was expanded we saw health outcomes improve. There were two extremes – repeal and replace or Medicare for all.
Cuban: There was a 3rd option called the 10-plan. You never pay more than 10% of your income for health coverage ever. For those with low incomes they basically pay a co-pay. Then coverage graduates on a means-tested basis up to 10%. The key element of this proposal is that you don’t pay in until you engage the system.
Hochman: Making sure people have coverage is one thing, but we also need to make sure people have access. The bottom line is that health care has to be more affordable. Access and affordability are two key challenges that we need to address.
From an accessibility perspective, virtual care has emerged as a viable alternative during this COVID crisis. “We’re doing 15,000 virtual visits per day now. Before this if we did 1,000 per day it was a big day.” I think a lot of people like virtual care. They like the ability to get care on their terms.
“Mental health is the next frontier where people have to open up about.” – Rod Hochman
Watson: Talk to me about mental health care.
Hochman: We started the WBT to put a stake in the ground for mental wellness. What we’re worried about with COVID is obviously the deaths and all the other medical care that’s been put off. We need to concern ourselves with the deaths of despair wave – alcoholism and depression. MH was a big problem we were digging into before COVID – about 30% of people we see in our clinics or hospitals have some type of mental health issue that accompany any number of conditions for which people seek treatment.
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