By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent (updated 8/17/19)  |  In some ways, it’s easier to define how health care is changing by how it isn’t:  It isn’t going to become more physician-centric.

“Right now, we provide care in a very delayed manner that is convenient for the doctor but not in a real-time way that is convenient for the patient,” Prisma Health Care Coordination Institute President & CEO Angelo Sinopoli of Greenville told Statehouse Report.

So, medical professionals like Sinopoli are calling on the Statehouse to help their industry evolve.

Statehouse report: how s. C. Lawmakers can help to make healthcare better 1

Sinopoli was one of scores of health care stakeholders who participated in a recent report focused on the state’s health care workforce and how to meet the industry’s current and future demands. The S.C. Institute of Medicine & Public Health released its study on the evolving health care workforce study in June.

“There’s a whole spectrum of workforce that is not produced today at a level that South Carolina is going to need going forward,” Sinopoli said. “This (report) is a unique opportunity for South Carolina … The key is going to be to get the delivery system — the physicians and the payers and the educational system — aligned in terms of what our future health care system needs to look like.”

According to the report, South Carolina is experiencing growing pains that much of the nation is experiencing: getting health care to the patient in better ways that include everything from telehealth to non-traditional aids to health, like a handyman who can make a home more accessible to an aging patient. The report outlines a variety of solutions from best practices, including some that can come from state lawmakers like tax credits for education.

“It’s a real, real challenge for us that we have to come together and try to address,” Sen. Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee, said. “Health care access and availability is so important for the well-being of our citizens.”

The report includes input from more than 60 stakeholders who focused on prevention, community settings and the social-environmental determinants of health and their implications for the workforce.

Essentially it all boils down to this: “We have to change how we deliver and view health and health care,” IMPH Senior Director of Strategic Engagement Megan Weis of Columbia told Statehouse Report.

Weis said the industry is being strained by rising costs, the need for integrated health and primary care, and changes in paying for individual services and lump-sum services. And those stressors are happening at a time with increased cases of sexually-transmitted diseases, obesity, opioid abuse and other behavioral health issues, she said.

“We live in a state that most of the lists that you see we are either at the bottom or the top,” Weis said. “But we are also on the forefront of initiatives like the one we just led … Our state is coming together to address these challenges and having health systems, academia, payers, nonprofits community organizations — everybody at a table moving forward is where we are really shining.”

She said the blueprint laid out in the June report will allow the state to tackle any current or future issue.

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