American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System
American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System
American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System

American Hospitals: Healing a Broken System

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    • Directed by: Vincent Mondillo, Richard Master
    • Released: 2023 (educational)
    • Year of Production: 2021
Running Time: 66 min
Language: English
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: US Studies, Physical and Mental Health, Urban Space and Systems
Health care has a stranglehold on the US economy, dominating our annual national spending with unsustainable, out-of-control growth that dangerously outpaces our country's economic growth. Of the $4.5 trillion Americans will spend on health care this year, hospitals will grab by far the biggest share – nearly one of every three of those dollars. That’s triple the amount Americans spend on prescription drugs. Yet hospitals have avoided the scrutiny of lawmakers and the media, while extracting massive amounts of revenue from their communities with little accountability regarding cost and expansion. As journalist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal says in the movie, “Hospitals get off scot-free.” American Hospitals examines the economic incentives of an industry that is charging outrageous fees while sitting on billions of dollars in accumulated cash – while 100 million Americans suffer from medical debt. Hospitals are the driving force that makes the average cost of a family health insurance policy exceed $22,000, plus additional out-of-pocket expenses for deductibles and copays in the many thousands of dollars.
  The film is based on in-depth research and interviews with two dozen nationally recognized experts in hospital administration, healthcare economics and policy, as well as patients and physicians affected by the merger-mania now prevalent in the field of American healthcare.
  The underlying economic system of hospitals means inequity is baked into treatment. It has enabled big hospital systems to reach monopoly power in almost all American cities while rural and inner city safety net hospitals are being shut down because they serve lower income patients, predominantly on Medicare and Medicaid. But there are solutions that can succeed in holding hospitals accountable while reducing cost and improving quality. Countries around the world pay half the amount for health care and have better outcomes. Policy changes can bring more equitable distribution of care to the American hospital system. There is one state that has begun to change the incentives for hospitals. Maryland has a unique waiver from Medicare that allows them to operate under a different payment model and budget structure. The result is controlled spending growth, improved quality and more equality among Maryland hospitals. Maryland stands a potential model for other states. American health care is failing, but is not too late to find a cure. Together.
"Healthcare leaders and policymakers have been challenged to address the issues of cost, quality, access, and availability of healthcare and hospital services to everyone. American Hospitals addresses this question and explores a successful model to meet patient and community needs while lowering the cost and improving outcomes." -Alan H Channing, retired Safety Net hospital CEO, New York City and Chicago.
  "During the 1948 presidential campaign, a Harry Truman supporter in Bremerton, Washington yelled “Give ‘em (Republicans) hell, Harry!” Truman famously responded, “I tell the truth about them and they think it’s hell.” In this same spirit, “American Hospitals” speaks the truth to the American people about their healthcare system. Too many hospital executives will think the film's messages are hell. This hard-hitting documentary not only exposes the system’s structural flaws, profiteering and horrific customer service, it also offers concrete reform suggestions. It’s must-see content for healthcare policymakers and all those interested in driving better care outcomes at lower costs." -David W. Johnson|CEO 4sight Health
  "'American Hospitals' vividly and accurately describes what we errroneously call a healthcare system. It clearly shows how the privatization of our healthcare acts no different from an aggressive and pervasive malignancy. They both literally kill us. It lays the groundwork for a needed single payer healthcare system that will care for everyone who lives here with without regard for their ability to pay." -Susan Rogers, MD, Former president of PNHP



About the filmmaker 


Vincent Mondillo is director, co-producer and co-writer on American Hospitals. He has collaborated with Richard Master on three previous productions for the Unfinished Business Foundation: Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point, Big Pharma: Market Failure, Big Money: Democracy on the Brink. He's been a producer and editor with Lou Reda Productions, working on programs that have aired on the History Channel, A & E and the Biography Channel.


Richard Master is the Founder and CEO of MCS Industries Inc., North America’s leading supplier of picture frames, decorative mirrors and other construction and consumer products. In 2019, Richard formed Business Leaders for Healthcare transformation, a coalition of business leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and concerned citizens who believe that the employer-based health insurance system is fundamentally broken and hinders American competitiveness. In 2020, Richard formed the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute, an independent nonpartisan research, policy, and advocacy organization working to develop and promote a reimagined criminal justice system that is equitable and fair for all.

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