ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- On Monday, the Rockefeller Institute of Government hosted a webinar discussing the healthcare system, the effects COVID-19, and what can be learned about how to improve the system. The webinar also brought together leaders in the healthcare industry to talk about the complexities of the American healthcare system.

Healthcare industry experts talked about inequity in healthcare and how systemic racism pervades the system. They also talked about how government support for public health has dwindled citing years of Centers for Disease Control cuts and loss of 50,000 local health department workers from 2008-2017.

Empire State College Associate Professor, Barry Eisenberg, says the American healthcare public market hybrid model’s focus on competition, return investments, efficiencies and cost control does not provide incentives to keep bulk inventory. One of the challenges many hospitals faced with lack of personal protective equipment at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in New York and across the country.

I think Medicare-For-All could be a solution, certainly, there are single-payer systems that work in other parts of the world. My sense in terms of my international comparison for the past few decades, however, is that there are lots of ways to do this and I think the healthcare system in the U.S. really needs to respond to what my friend Joe White calls the international standard.

Michael Gusmano
Rockefeller Institute of Government

Courtney Burke, chief operating officer at the Healthcare Association of New York State, says there is a growing disparity among top hospitals and distressed hospitals that has been highlighted during the pandemic. She also says healthcare plans have made out well financially while hospitals and healthcare providers have not.

Burke says in order to create a healthcare system better able to handle another public health emergency or a resurgence of COVID-19, new strategies must be developed. Involving customers in decision making, finding ways to increase telehealth usage, and looking at community/social investments are some of the ways healthcare can better prepare to meet public needs.

“One of the things I think about the issue we’re facing today is that to be prepared, it obviously means to look down the road and to invest in something that may or may not occur. Individual hospitals lack the incentives to do that,” says Eisenberg.