North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael Dowling speaks about the...

North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael Dowling speaks about the US Supreme Court decision on Obama Health Care on Thurday, June 28, 2012 in Woodbury, New York. (Photo by Howard Schnapp) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The way health care is delivered is changing fast, and the transformation will accelerate over the next decade.

Where Long islanders go for medical care, who provides it and how its paid for won’t be the same.

Some hospitals may close as they lose their place as the center of the health care universe. Outpatient, ambulatory treatment centers, will become the place to go for many routine, and even some not so routine procedures. Stand-alone urgent care centers could replace hospital emergency rooms. We’ll increasingly go to retail outlets, perhaps drug stores, for medical care. And rather than seeing doctors for every ailment, the people taking care of us will likely be nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

A lot of attention has been focused on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and how its mandate that everyone have insurance or pay a penalty, health insurance exchanges, new taxes and insurance reforms will change health insurance as we know it.

But its hospitals, doctors and other providers rather than government that are actually driving this revolutionary evolution in medical care and, hopefully, an important shift from the current concentration on treating disease to a focus on promoting health.

What’s motivating the change is cost. Americans spend $2.6 trillion a year for health care. That’s $8,400 per person, a tab about twice as high as in other rich nations. And the cost has been soaring for years. That has to change, which means health care has to change too.

To help us and other Long Islanders understand how this is unfolding, the Newsday Editorial board is inviting the movers and shakers in to share their views. First up was Michael Dowling, President and Chief Executive Officer of North Shore-LIJ, one of the nation’s largest health care networks. See what he had to say in the video above.

So, is this a brave new world of exciting possibilities or is the direction we’re heading cause for worry? Which changes should be welcomed? Which ones should be resisted? Will the result be better care or worse care? Let us know what you think. 

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