The Stories

What will the future of health care in Western New York look like?

In the following four stories, an interwoven cast of patients and health care providers - Barry Glover, Miranda Trimble, Don Castle, Laura Castle Clark, Felicia Johnson, Tony Tomasello and Anita Wallace - interact with each other on a single day in 2018, Friday, June 22, to be exact. The date is the same in each story but each Friday has been reached along a different path, with distinctly different outcomes for all involved.

Heaven Help Us All

Remedial care with fewer resources
As the recession of 2013 echoed the recessions of 2008 and 2010, Congress was unable in 2010, 2012, and 2016 to enact any kind of health care reform. (...read more)

Access:
Limited, with care obtained primarily through emergency centers
Quality:
With stretched resources, quality fails
Affordability:
Costs rise for all, despite lower quality; those who can afford it go outside the region for better care
Winners:
Those with healthy lifestyles, and those who can afford to travel to quality care
Losers:
The uninsured, those who need specialized care or continual care for chronic condition
44 percent of community conversation participants said this story most characterizes health care in WNY today
37 percent also said this is where health care is headed in WNY

With a Little Help from My Friends

Preventive care with fewer resources
The recession of 2009 made cutting health care costs a priority for the 2010 Congress. (...read more)

Access:
Due to resource shortages and commitments to preventive care, most care facilitated by community clinics, churches and other supportive resources
Quality:
Simple outcomes improve due to compulsory tests and screenings
Affordability:
Skilled care becomes unaffordable for most
Winners:
Those needing only basic care Losers: Those needing specialized or ongoing care
25 percent of community conversation participants said this is where health care in WNY is headed

Don't You Worry About A Thing

Remedial care with more resources
In 2012 Congress finally passed a sweeping health care reform bill but stopped short of making it universal coverage. (...read more)

Access:
Flush resources support broader access
Quality:
Continued focus on remedial care uses resources inefficiently, compromising quality in certain areas
Affordability:
Primary care becomes more affordable due to supportive policy spurred by greater resources
Winners:
Savvy consumers who can pay for or access highest quality care and navigate the system
Losers:
Those who need help navigating the system and understanding preventive options
24 percent of community conversation participants said this story most characterizes health care in WNY today

You Get What You Need

Preventive care with more resources
In 2010, Congress passed the Universal Access to Health Care bill. (...read more)

Access:
Comprehensive treatment options for both preventive and acute care
Quality:
Stronger outcomes through education and preventive behaviors, as well as system efficiencies
Affordability:
More funding for public health plans and preventive supports make care more affordable
Winners:
Those motivated to take control of their health; efficiencies improve care for chronic conditions and cost for all
Losers:
Resources are spread more evenly, resulting in fewer options for those in need of high-end or specialized care
77 percent of community conversation participants said they would like to see WNY health care head in this direction