For all those interested in healthcare costs or those in healthcare management, the mention of McAllen brings to mind Atul Gawande’s “The Cost Conundrum.” With that in mind, I set off excited.
We arrived at 2:18 pm to great weather: in a period of 4 hours we had moved from 16°F in Detroit to 76°F. Finally, we could get outside, experience the weather and, more importantly, see McAllen. As Tiffany puts it, we were eager to see if physician owned practices were on every street. So far we have seen none of that.
We arrived at our hotel at 5:00 pm. And as if to remind me of my initial interest about healthcare cost, I realized that our hotel is directly opposite the McAllen Medical Center. From the outside, nothing in McAllen would tell you that Medicare costs per enrollee is higher here than in most places. Stay tuned, because my group’s project deals with interviewing health providers about the utilization of preventive services by the older adults. In my interviews, I will keep my eyes opened to see if anything stands out—form a “tourist’s” perspective—about why McAllen falls off the charts with respect to Medicare costs.