Staff Writer Penelope Overton’s June 14 article regarding the financial toll of COVID-19 on Maine hospitals raises important questions: Is the current fee-for-service reimbursement model for hospitals working? How heavily should hospital budgets rely on elective surgeries or commercial insurance to cover lower reimbursement from public-sector programs?

These are not new questions. Ten years ago, the passage of the Affordable Care Act encouraged health care systems to move from volume-based to value-based health care. The law’s passage recognized that our country cannot afford to sustain a volume-based health care system.

COVID-19 has brought these questions to light again, and could serve as an inflection point for Maine to reconsider new way to approach health care. Maine is uniquely positioned to make great change. It has strong leadership, a shared interest in pursuing a “north star,” and a community with a history of collaborating to address big challenges.

What a “new way” might look like will require a lot of work by key stakeholders, including not only traditional providers but also the technology and biopharmaceutical companies that have supported Maine’s COVID-19 response. I have no doubt that with the right conversations, more can be done to sustain Maine’s health care infrastructure while serving the needs of Maine’s citizens.

Kristina Lunner

North Yarmouth

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