5 Things Hospital CEOs Want from Trump

Philip Betbeze, November 17, 2016

Hospital administrators hope the unexpected election result will bring regulatory relief and no financial headwinds.

Toby Freier
Toby Freier

The electoral college has spoken, and the markets' verdict for hospitals was swift and sudden. Hospital stocks were down double digits in the wake of Donald Trump's presidential win and have not recovered much on fears the new administration's policies will punish hospitals.

After all, you can't say "Affordable Care Act," which has been a net positive for hospitals, these days without hearing "repeal and replace" in the next breath.

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But healthcare leaders are resilient, and they hope cooler heads will prevail as the Republican Party appears poised to remake, if not repeal, a law it professes to disdain entirely.

Here are five wishes several hospital and health system leaders hope the new administration will grant as the turbulent healthcare industry ratchets up to an even higher level of upheaval.

1. Greater Affordability

Affordability is a stated goal of any administration's work on healthcare, but how it's achieved is where differences in ideology become apparent.

Toby Freier, president of Minnesota-based New Ulm Medical Center, a 50-bed hospital within the 13-hospital Allina Health nonprofit chain, says huge strides are being made in rural communities on affordability.

"There's great value being provided by rural providers already, and with the right support and a framework for funding reimbursement for things like telehealth that leverage tertiary systems into rural communities, rural providers can help on affordability and better outcomes," he says.

"I'm hoping the next administration gets that connection and that the pathway to greater affordability can be achieved. At the same time, [hospitals] have to demonstrate higher value for the healthcare we're providing and we have to own up to affordability issue."

Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, a seven-hospital nonprofit system, says all involved in healthcare reform must understand the frustration and concern about healthcare costs.

"We cannot ignore that some people feel marginalized and are very worried about the growing cost of healthcare," she says. "It's our responsibility to minister to that need."

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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