Helen Dar­ling, pres­i­dent of the National Busi­ness Group on Health

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE -

MH: You rep­re­sent some of the big­gest cor­po­ra­tions in Amer­ica and their on­go­ing con­cerns about the high cost of health­care. How has your fo­cus on cost shifted in re­cent years and why?

Dar­ling: Well, I’m not sure it’s shifted much. In fact, it has been a ma­jor con­cern, at least since I joined the or­ga­ni­za­tion in 2001, which was right af­ter 9/11. The econ­omy was ac­tu­ally re­ally in the worst pos­si­ble shape. We’ve kind of for­got­ten that. There was a time when ev­ery­thing was in real trou­ble. So cost started out at that point as be­ing No. 1. We weren’t sure when we’d re­cover from the fi­nan­cial prob­lems then, so our mem­bers were deeply con­cerned be­cause they had no cus­tomers com­ing through the door; they didn’t have pa­tients, in some in­stances, if they were hos­pi­tals. So it was a re­ally tough time. But, as the econ­omy re­cov­ered and then ba­si­cally went into the great re­ces­sion with the fi­nan­cial melt­down, we have seen com­pa­nies again feel that it’s an un­sus­tain­able sit­u­a­tion, that the per­cent­age of the econ­omy and the amount of money they have to spend com­pared to their in­creased rev­enues on health­care has be­come worse and worse. So, it’s more a ques­tion of pro­por­tion­al­ity, not a change in fo­cus.

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