The Town Where Everyone Talks About Death : Planet Money : NPR
“It turns out that if you allow patients to choose and direct their care, then often they choose a course that is much less expensive,” says Jeff Thompson, CEO of Gundersen.In fact, La Crosse, Wisconsin spends less on health care for patients at the end of life than any other place in the country, according to the Dartmouth Health Atlas.Reducing costs wasn’t the reason La Crosse has its advance directive program. Bud Hammes was trying to help their patients, and the reduction in spending was an accident. But now, lots of other communities want to copy the La Crosse program.Bud Hammes thinks this is the moment his big idea in La Crosse might actually go national. The Affordable Care Act encourages providers to figure out how to reduce spending. Bud is getting calls from hospitals and doctors, and he’s putting off retirement to help them make the rest of America look more like La Crosse.