The coolest news coming out of Washington DC this week was not political.
That was a dumb statement…political news out of DC just causes indigestion, which is never cool.
No, the Brood X Cicadas have returned.
There was a story from 17 years ago, the regular cicada cycle, of a ruined outdoor wedding in which the deafening insects were so loud that you could not hear the band. I guess that particular tip was not in the wedding planner’s guidebook. It is now.
Last week, the swarms showed up on the weather radar looking like a rainstorm west of the District. A billion insects, flying in formation, starts to look like a single thing.
OK, this is a stretch, even for me, but let’s connect the cicada swarm to some healthcare insights, if for no other reason than it gives us an excuse to make jokes about the bugs in DC.
As I shared last week, I continue to be struck by the fact that the healthcare industry increasingly has two sub-worlds that may not even know the other exists. On one hand, we have providers who are still firmly planted in a fee-for-service universe and think all of this ‘value-based care’ talk is from the same people that were all excited about UFO sightings by the Navy last month. On the other hand, we have those who are all in on VBC and think FFS is a musty old wing down at the healthcare history museum.
I’ve continued to think about that dichotomy. Like the millions of tidewater insects, there are a lot of individual dots in markets all over the country that come together to form both a value-based care swarm and a fee-for-service swarm. Both show up on our radar.
But like inflation, we then wonder of the two things are transitory and will eventually converge, or if two separate swarms are permanent.
See how many DC references I am working in this week? I should have a Sunday morning talk show.
We’re more than a decade now into a full-fledged effort to reform and remake the healthcare industry. We’ve had big policy changes; mega market moves; tons of investments; and a lot of innovation. The cicadas were last here not long after President Clinton waved the white flag and told Hillary to cease and desist with her healthcare committee and start making her own campaign posters. 17 years is a long nap, but I think they would agree a lot has changed since they last crawled out of hibernation.
Looking deeper at the current VBC v FFS divide will shed some light on how we got here and where we might be going.
Until next time…