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St. Louis Consultant Makes The Case For Market-Based Health Care

It didn’t take a pandemic to prove that the U.S. health care system is broken, but this year’s COVID-19 outbreak certainly provided more evidence of what we all knew. To fix it, we need to “change the entire game,” said Rita Numerof, president and co-founder of the health care consulting firm Numerof & Associates.

“We have lacked a consumer-centered model in health care that is really market based,” she said.

Numerof said a market-based model would benefit health care providers as well as consumers. She said such a system would allow consumers to feel more empowered to ask about the costs of their care up front.

“We need to demand that our health care delivery organizations, regardless of where they are, regardless of whether they’re part of a large system or not, give us the kind of information that we are accustomed to seeing on a regular basis in every other part of our lives,” she said. “Interestingly, the only part of health care that historically has operated like the rest of our economy is in the area of lasik surgery and cosmetic dermatology, because we’ve paid for this out of pocket.”

On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air, Numerof, who holds a doctorate of philosophy and organizational behavior studies, explained why a shift to a consumer-based model of care is critical for the long-term health of the industry as well as patient outcomes. She also discussed how the pandemic has worsened the nursing shortage, why nursing homes are facing a fiscal crisis and the increasing importance of urgent care facilities.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Rita Numerof is the president and co-founder of the consulting firm, Numerof & Associates.
Numerof & Associates /
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Rita Numerof is the president and co-founder of the consulting firm, Numerof & Associates.

Emily Woodbury joined the St. Louis on the Air team in July 2019. Prior to that, she worked at Iowa Public Radio as a producer for two daily, statewide talk programs. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science. She got her start in news radio by working at her college radio station as a news director. Emily enjoys playing roller derby, working with dogs, and playing games – both video and tabletop.