It doesnt seem to matter what programs are passed on Capitol Hill, health care in this country continues to exist in crisis mode. The rising cost of medical care and health care coverage is becoming prohibitively expensive for most Americans, and is impacting all, from corporations to co-ops. To illustrate the point, as this issue goes to press, Reuters news service reports this year alone has witnessed health insurance premiums rise five times faster than the average workers salary (exceeding standard cost of living increases by at least 2%). In answer to these demands, most employers have either lowered their contributions to employee health packagesor, dropped coverage altogether. Either way, the average American is paying more out-of-pocket for medical coverage, which will affect every aspect of health care, especially hearing health care.
Expensive cutting-edge technologies, soaring drug costs, and specialist fees are a few of the reasons for patients to rethink their priorities in seeking treatment for their hearing problems. (Reluctantly, most individuals opt to pay the mortgage and feed the family, rather than more clearly understand a conversation in the board room, or address that constant ringing in their ears).
What this means is that you, the hearing health care professional, are going to have to work harder to reach your customer base. You will need to make the public more aware of the signs of hearing impairment, and demonstrate how these disabilities can be overcome. To survive in this new cost-conscious health care environment, you will need to be more aggressive in marketing techniques, offering financial packages and, creatively, assisting future customers in finding ways to afford your services.
November is rapidly approaching. As each of you considers the platforms of this years Presidential candidates, and prepares to elect the man who will occupy the Oval Office for the next 4 years, the issue of health care will likely be a key factor in making that ultimate decision. But, remember, there are no miracles.
Rogena Schuyler Silverman