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St. Louis Consultant Makes The Case For Market-Based Health Care

Alex Proimos
Rita Numerof, president of Numerof & Associates, says a shift to a consumer-based model of care is critical for the long-term health of the industry as well as patient outcomes.

It didn’t take a pandemic to prove that the U.S. health care system is broken, but this year’s COVID-19 outbreak certainly provided more evidence of what we all knew. To fix it, we need to “change the entire game,” said Rita Numerof, president and co-founder of the health care consulting firm Numerof & Associates.

“We have lacked a consumer-centered model in health care that is really market based,” she said.

Numerof & Associates
Rita Numerof is the president and co-founder of Numerof & Associates.

Numerof said a market-based model would benefit health care providers as well as consumers. She said such a system would allow consumers to feel more empowered to ask about the costs of their care up front.

“We need to demand that our health care delivery organizations, regardless of where they are, regardless of whether they’re part of a large system or not, give us the kind of information that we are accustomed to seeing on a regular basis in every other part of our lives,” she said. “Interestingly, the only part of health care that historically has operated like the rest of our economy is in the area of lasik surgery and cosmetic dermatology, because we’ve paid for this out of pocket.”

On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, Numerof, who holds a doctorate of philosophy and organizational behavior studies, explained why a shift to a consumer-based model of care is critical for the long-term health of the industry as well as patient outcomes. She also discussed how the pandemic has worsened the nursing shortage, why nursing homes are facing a fiscal crisis and the increasing importance of urgent care facilities.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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