It’s been said many times: Follow the money … and I believe it also applies to our health care system. Let me explain why we need 100,000 full-time and well trained health coaches in the US; why it’s not a dream but a necessity and a reality we’ll see sooner than we think.
Here we go:
The U.S. health care costs skyrocketed to $3.65 Trillion in 2018 and projections indicate an increase by at least 5.5% annually over the next decade. This number is so huge that you really have to see it numerically:
Just think about this: The US health spending accounted for 17.9 percent of GDP which is over $10,739 per person. (1)
We also know that over 80% of today’s health care costs are connected to non-communicable (chronic) lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, pain, Alzheimer’s and other auto-immune disorders. (2)
Traditional medicine solutions are mostly focused on “managing” these very expensive conditions and even new advances in technology won’t change that because they are not designed or meant to address the root-causes or reverse the symptoms.
There is vast agreement between health professionals, governments and patients that this is not sustainable and more importantly that we won’t solve the health care crisis without new innovative ideas.
Now, here is my proposal:
We invest into root-cause trained health coaches on a national and global scale!
Hear me out.
We decide to invest 2% of the current health care costs into qualified and well-trained root-cause trained Lifestyle Medicine Health Coaches. Research studies have shown that the reduction of bypass surgery and stents can can save $30,000 per patient in the first year alone therefore cutting health care costs by 50% in the first year.
It’s safe to estimate that health care cost savings of 2-10% annually are absolutely possible. (3)
WOW, that’s a whooping $76-182 BILLION in SAVINGS.
Depending on some variables and current annual health care expenses of $3,650,000,000,000 we save:
- $73,000,000,000 (2% or $73 Billion saved)
- $182,500,000,000 (5% or $182 Billion saved)
- $365,000,000,000 (10% or $365 Billion saved)
Let’s be conservative and take the next step in this new Lifestyle Medicine and Health Coach focused health care model. How could we create a win-win-win-win situation with new high paying and fulfilling jobs created, the strain on current health professionals eased and most important health and productivity of people improved?
Stay with me … here’s how:
- 328,000,000 people living in the US
- 120,000,000 (120 Million) households
- 25,000,000 high-risk households that need coaching (about 20%)
- 250 households (about 1,000 individuals) are supported by one health coach
- 100,000 health coaches are needed to coach about 100 Million individuals
- $73,000 Annual Income/Reimbursement for each health coach (we invest 2% of health care cost now)
Now, you might ask what are these health coaches going to do?
Consider we invest in health coaches and divert funds to ensure they can focus 100% of their time and skills to help chronic disease patients shift their unhealthy habits to eat better, stress less, exercise more and improve social connections.
Addressing the root-causes will not just help manage the symptoms, it will help reverse them, improve health and save billions in health care costs that would have gone towards disease management.
Each health coach is responsible for supporting the patients using:
- Health Coaching Group Sessions
- Working with individual or family in personal consultations
- Write Green or Lifestyle Prescriptions® with habit change strategies
- Engaging clients to establish healthy habits
- Providing support and helping clients through difficult times
Naturally, the best part is that people’s lives will improve, relationships will become more meaningful and individuals will live longer and healthier. Productivity and quality of life will improve accordingly.
Just think about what we could do with the additional health care cost savings:
- Re-invested into research
- Lifestyle Medicine and other educational projects
- Repay our national depth?
- Lower health care costs for businesses and families?
- The possibilities are endless
PS: Lets summarize:
We invest 2% of health care expenditures into 100,000 highly qualified and efficient root-cause trained Lifestyle Medicine Health Coaches working with 250 households each; covering 25 million high-risk house holds; improving health outcomes of 100,000,000 people and qualify of life and save billions in health care costs in return.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
The only problem is that unless we take action and demand new innovations in health care based on prevention and lifestyle medicine it won’t happen.
Here’s a solution:
- SHARE this article to everyone you know!
- DEMAND to have the option to work with a health coach. Ask your doctor if he/she offers Lifestyle Medicine or root-cause based Health Coaching. If NOT find a new doctor or clinic.
Johannes R. Fisslinger
Founder Lifestyle Prescriptions University
1) https://fortune.com/2019/02/21/us-health-care-costs-2/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6211719/