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The Business Case for Switching from a “Sick Care” to a “Well Care” Model


Thomas (Tim) L. Stover, a speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CXO Summit Spring 2013, on why hospitals should pay more attention to keeping people healthy.

Interview with: Thomas (Tim) L. Stover, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Akron General Health System


Healthcare organizations should pay more attention to revenue sources that are not dependent upon sick people coming to their hospital, advises Thomas (Tim) L. Stover, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Akron General Health System. With reimbursement cuts, the “sick care” model of care is not going to work, he adds.

A speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CXO Summit Spring 2013, in Palm Beach, Florida, April 15-17, Stover explains the “well care” model and discusses the business case for focusing on illness prevention and keeping hospital beds empty.

What is the “sick care” model of care?

The “sick care” model is what healthcare is all about today and it will not work in the future. At Akron (General) we pay more attention to prevention and wellness, driving personal responsibility so that people do not get ill. We have three health and wellness centers, which all include LifeStyles, a medical fitness component.

About 85 percent of healthcare dollars today are spent on five lifestyle choices. Concentrating on nutrition, obesity, smoking and alcohol would have a downstream effect on healthcare spend.

What is the LifeStyles medical fitness component? Why should patients and payers join the pursuit for wellness?

When someone goes through an episode of illness, the goal is to get them back into what they feel is a definition of wellness, and keep them there. That requires a change to their lifestyle, nutrition and exercise habits. All our centers have that piece and in the next decade, we expect that of every major healthcare system, as it does cost less to prevent a problem from recurring than to treat it.

Insurance companies should also get involved and put incentives for members to stay well. If they spent some money educating their members, fewer people would be coming to our hospitals. The goal is to keep people out of facilities. This means patients, payors and provider have to be engaged with this concept around wellness.

Does this make business sense, when hospitals make money by treating sick people and filling beds?

That is the opposite of how it should be, and what we are trying to literally turn around. As the President of a hospital, you would think that my goal would be to fill up beds, but it is not. Above all, I am a physician, and that is not the right thing to do. We should keep people out of the hospital. That is the most expensive piece of healthcare we provide. We are being funded for the “sick care” model, but it is not working any more. We need to exercise the opposite of that, which is prevention and wellness. At the end of the day, wellness is free, so it makes perfect business sense.

It is difficult to figure out how revenue will come in if you do not have a house full of sick people, but there is a lot of money to be made. We concentrate on 85 percent of the population who do not exercise and will end up coming to our hospitals at some point. The most mature of our centers got USD 38 million worth of revenue last year; the LifeStyles component contributed USD 6 million to the bottom line. Our centers had an average margin of 38 percent, compared to the one percent most hospitals achieve.

As reimbursement cuts increase, hospitals will have to stop relying on old folks getting sick. Payments will not cover costs and there will not be enough money to keep all the hospitals open.

Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the National Healthcare CXO Summit Spring 2013

This unique forum will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Florida, April 15-17, 2013. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on physician integration and alignment, healthcare reform, cost management solutions and patient satisfaction.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at event website

marcus evans group – healthcare sector portal

Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit 


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