Skip to Main Content

Quality Care and the Business of Healthcare

November 18, 2022 Posted in: Dr. Lawson Blogs , Leadership

By Doug Lawson, PhD, CEO of St. Luke’s Health

In healthcare, we are often good at highlighting awards, achievements, and patient stories. However, we could do a much better job of explaining the business of healthcare and how it relates to delivering quality care to our communities. That’s why I suggest it's worthwhile to invest some of your time in reading two recent Houston Chronicle articles featuring St. Luke’s Health. 

The first article, “Competition not a cure” from the front page of the September 23 edition, spotlights how St. Luke’s is the high-value provider for the communities we serve. That phrase – high-value – represents the intersection of high quality care at a low cost. 

As reporter Rebecca Carballo explains, hospitals make a large share of their revenues from reimbursements paid by commercial insurers. Despite providing nationally-recognized quality care, St. Luke’s is reimbursed at much lower rates compared to other major Houston hospital systems.  

These unsustainable insurance reimbursements, combined with inflation and rising costs, are having a significant negative impact on the financial performance of St. Luke’s. It’s a challenge that’s also facing other hospitals across the country. We need fair and reasonable reimbursements from insurance companies to continue investing in the quality of care we provide our community and the caregivers who deliver it. We are not looking to be the highest paid provider in the area but we cannot afford to be paid the least by insurers. 

People deserve to know about the costs of various procedures at specific hospitals and that’s the crux of the second article, “Which Houston hospitals are most expensive” from the front page of the October 19 edition. Reporter Julian Gill compares prices at major Houston hospital systems and St. Luke’s charges the least on average across the board. 

This information empowers consumers to know where to receive the lowest cost, highest quality healthcare by highlighting how hospitals are complying with federal mandates to publish the costs of specific medical procedures

This is also critical information for employers. As Dr. Vivian Ho, a healthcare economist at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy points out in the article, most large companies in the Houston area are self-insured; if they can lower the overall cost of medical care for their employees, lower health insurance premiums could result.

Together, these two articles use facts and data to illustrate the connection between quality of care and the business of healthcare. The bottom line is that patients who choose St. Luke’s receive high quality care at the lowest cost and it benefits their employers, too. 

I know that all of us at St. Luke’s Health will continue to give our all so that every patient who enters our system receives the high-value care they deserve and have come to expect.


Recent Blogs

4 Surprising Facts to Slow Down Aging and Boost Brain Health

FEB 27, 2024

Small lifestyle changes can go a long way in managing age-related physical and mental changes. Here are four surprising facts to help you embrace healthier habits as you age.

Read More Additional information about 4 Surprising Facts to Slow Down Aging and Boost Brain Health

Addressing Challenges in Rural Health Care

FEB 17, 2024

Learn about the health care challenges facing rural communities and how the St. Luke’s Health leadership team is helping find solutions.

Read More Additional information about Addressing Challenges in Rural Health Care

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Cardiovascular Program Receives National Recognition

FEB 16, 2024

BSLMC cardiac surgery and cardiology programs deliver better patient outcomes than the national average while making medical advancements in their field.

Read More Additional information about Baylor St. Luke’s Receives National Cardiovascular Recognition