Joel Seligman, President and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital, on How to Keep Individual Healthcare Costs Down

Posted on: January 7, 2013

Joel Seligman, CEO Northern Westchester HospitalIt’s important for everyone to know that they have the power to help keep their health care costs down. When you have a greater understanding of the options available to you and become proactive in your health and wellness, you can save money and improve your overall quality of life.

[View previous NWH blog post:  With Healthcare Reform, How Can You Control Your Costs? ]

How I keep my health care costs down.

In an effort to minimize my own healthcare costs I have tried to do a lot to protect my long-term health, like finding ways to stay physically active and healthy foods that I like eating, particularly fruits and vegetables, and recognizing the importance of sleep and rest. I try to stay focused on these goals by making them routine and enjoyable.

I get recommended immunizations and preventive screenings so that my primary care physician can be alerted if anything begins to look unusual.

I also make use of a medical savings account each year and I’m careful to use in-network physicians. I see my primary care physician if I have a problem, before it becomes something that requires an ER visit.

How we waste our dollars.

I feel we spend an enormous sum trying to undo the harm we have done to ourselves, and trying to reduce the symptoms of that damage. For example, if we learn to better manage stress or reduce dependence on alcohol and drugs, we could lower the incidence of many costly related illnesses and disabilities. 

I also see over-testing and over-medicating in some situations, instead of giving the body time to heal itself. For instance, parents who insist on antibiotic prescriptions for their children, in the absence of any evidence of a bacterial problem create additional costs in both the short-term and the long-term. Sometimes patience is the best medicine. 

We can help our doctors keep costs down.

One of the greatest reasons for complications after treatment and for readmission to hospitals is when patients fail to take their medications as prescribed. Make sure you understand what your doctor has prescribed for you or your loved ones and be committed to 100 percent compliance. If you can’t afford the medications, ask a medical professional for help; there are programs that can help patients purchase their medications. 

But most important, do the things we all know will keep us healthier, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and taking care of emotional needs like relieving stress and seeking counseling when you feel overwhelmed. You deserve it and it will help protect your health.

Editor’s note:  Joel Seligman is President and CEO of Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, NY