Even with new health-care policies, one thing is clear: health-care costs will continue to rise dramatically. While individuals may get better coverage, businesses will have the same problem they've had for the last four decades. Health care, one of corporate America's largest expenses, is growing at double-digit rates, and nothing done in Washington will change that.
But one medium-size company set out to tame the beast of rising health-care costs, employing best practices and cutting-edge ideas. The results have caused others to sit up and take notice. Serigraph, Inc., a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of decorative parts, and its chairman, John Torinus, did what Washington can't or won't do: reduce cost increases to less than 2 percent while improving the quality of health care for its employees. The implications for corporate America are staggeringthe opportunity for genuine reform in an expense category that has been spiraling out of control.
Serigraph began its initiative to control health-care costs in 2003, when its annual health-care bill was $5 million and another $750,000 was needed for the projected 15 percent annual increase. The company employed three strategies for reform, each of which can cut the health-care bill by 20 percent to 40 percentconsumer responsibility, the primacy of primary over specialty care and centers of value. Applied in concert with other management methods, these three approaches almost eliminated growth in health-care costs while improving the quality of employee care. The results are documented. They are beyond refute.
"The Company That Solved Health Care" describes the fascinating details of Serigraph’s program, and shows how any company can achieve similar results. This book is essential reading for any manager responsible for his or her company’s health-care expenses, any academic or thinker involved in the health-care debate and anyone who wants to better understand why health-care costs have been rising and what can be done to achieve price stability while improving patient care.