I just returned from a series of meetings in Arizona. One of the speakers was Derek Feeley, Director General for Scottish Health and Social Care, the equivalent of Kathleen Sebelius (US Secretary of Health and Human Services), but for Scotland. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation. The similarities between health care in the US and Scotland were amazing. The only differences were that Scotland has a national health care system, they lead the world in liver mortality and they just reduced the wait to 50 days for elective surgery. Otherwise, they are focusing on value not volume; bending the cost curve; attempting to change the expectations of those paying the bills and receiving the care; addressing population health; reducing the cost of care and improving the quality of care. They are addressing the liver mortality issue by increasing the price of liquor as we do with tobacco products in the US. Using the US and our tobacco tax as the model, Derek is expecting success is reducing the mortality rate.
On the lighter side, I had the opportunity to speak with him after his program. I asked if elevating of the price of liquor in Scotland would affect the price of single malt scotch that is exported to the US. He laughed and informed me that there would be no impact on high-end scotch. Their focus is what is deemed to be cheaper liquors even with the increased cost will not reach the cost of single malt scotch. Good information to have on all counts.