First posted 9/27/11 on Not Running a Hospital
Narcissus was so entranced by a reflection of his own image that he was paralyzed into inaction by looking at it, leading to an unfortunate end. There is a lesson here for the country’s academic medical centers (AMCs). These “crown jewels of American medicine” are lobbying to be exempt from certain federal budget cuts. As noted in a paid op-ed page advertisement in the New York Times,* they cite their special status as “urban medical centers treat[ing] patient populations with high rates of chronic disease, coexisting conditions, and more advanced stages of illness.” They note that “physicians and scientists at teaching institutions are the foundation of biomedical research and innovation in medicine [where] they invent and improve surgical devices and . . . inform drug discovery and development.” Finally, they remind us of their essential role in training the next generation of physicians.