What healthcare leaders would do with the $1.55B Mega Millions prize

If you won the Mega Millions lottery, what would you do with the money? 

Beyond providing for your loved ones, would you spend some of your winnings to benefit healthcare, in something you believe might make a difference in this industry fraught with both challenges and opportunities?

Becker's asked leaders what their go-to healthcare investment would be if they won the jackpot, which is now estimated to be $1.55 billion. (Updated) There were no winners in the Aug. 4 drawing. The next drawing, with an estimated $1.55 billion jackpot, is set for Tuesday, Aug 8. Mega Millions numbers are drawn on Tuesday and Friday nights.

Editor's note: These responses have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Roxanne Aldi-Quaresima, MSN, APRN. Regional Nursing Director of Nursing Professional Development and Education at Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare Central Region: I would look at it from a patient safety standpoint. I would invest in something that would ensure we have appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios and units that are designed and developed to have the most effective and efficient workflow for clinicians.

The way hospitals are designed right now, as we all know, processes are outdated. We really need to look at the utilization of technology. We need to look at a design that leads to open floor plans and that we have rooms that are designed to promote patient safety technologies — such as cameras and intercoms for communication — and that allow patients to be watched closely. 

Bob Dent, DNP. Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Emory Healthcare (Atlanta): Nursing leadership development and mental health.

Danielle McCamey, DNP. Assistant Dean for Clinical Practice and Relationships at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (Baltimore): I would fund nursing and medical education so people from marginalized/disenfranchised communities would be able to attend school tuition-free.

I would also provide money to grassroots organizations doing work to close health disparities and invest in opportunities to provide affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods so there weren't any food or care deserts.

Robert Pearl, MD. Former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group (Oakland, Calif.): The fact is, $1 billion isn't much to make a difference in a $4.3 trillion dollar industry, which is projected to cost $7.2 trillion by 2031.

If I could only make one change in healthcare to address issues of both quality and affordability, it would be to shift the payment methodology from fee-for-service to capitation at the delivery system level — paid directly to doctors and hospitals. That would align the incentives for prevention, avoidance of complications from chronic disease and patient safety. 

If payers (government and businesses) eliminated FFS, however, it would necessitate the other changes required. Doctors and hospitals would need to form high-performing, cost-effective groups, implement a leadership structure and invest in modern technology — particularly IT and generative artificial intelligence.

Zan Smith, DNP. Director of Service Line and Program Development at Adventist HealthCare. (Gaithersburg, Md.): My initial inclination would be to funnel investments towards reforming healthcare reimbursement structures, which would enable healthcare institutions to bill for the invaluable services rendered by nurses. 

It's a regrettable reality that, despite comprising the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, nurses stand alone as the only professionals without the necessary infrastructure or backing to bill for their critical services. 

Robert Weiss. Regional Business Operations Manager for Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare Central Region: I would invest in the infrastructure to improve brick and mortar of hospitals. A lot of money is being invested today in technology like artificial intelligence and robotic equipment. Given that $1 billion is a sizable amount of money, I would utilize it to provide key daily clinical equipment for front-line staff as well as invest in the overall infrastructure of hospitals. We all want to provide a Ritz Carlton experience and investing a billion dollars into general infrastructure can help propel us forward.

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