Speaker: John Whitman, "Aging in America"

By Mayher Uppal

John Whitman, CEO of the Targeting Revolutionary Elder Care Solutions (TRECS) Institute, spoke to WUHC members on Thursday, October 2nd about the growing elderly population in America and the consequent need for change in the healthcare systems. Whitman has been a valuable member of the healthcare field for over 35 years, having received his M.B.A. with a concentration in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School in 1978.

Whitman spoke about the problems that exist in nursing homes that care for the elderly, such as unnecessary hospital transfers and difficulty of access to geriatricians. He cited the issue of governmental factors, as well as healthcare firms seeking profit rather than focusing on the quality of care provided to patients. This results in a great deal of inefficiency and impacts the lives of both patients and their families. He then outlined some alternatives to the current system that have been proven to reduce expenditures and improve the quality of care to elderly patients, one of which was the Bundled Payments for Care Initiative (BPCI). By providing more organized care, the BPCI reduces costs to both the patient and to Medicare and Medicaid.

Another topic covered was the concept of “Aging at Home,” in which an elderly patient lives in a residence of their choice and receives the services they need as time goes on. Whitman mentioned programs such as PACE, where more flexible spending is allowed and patients’ needs may be more specifically met. He also described various technology companies, such as Telikin, MedMinder, and AdhereTech, who have developed easy-use touchscreen computers, advanced medication dosage tracking, and a “smart” pill bottle, respectively. All of these programs and inventions contribute to attempts to lessen the discomfort and difficulty that exists in caring for the elderly in today’s healthcare system.