Reminders of Art Buchwald

PAUL LEVY

Originally published on [Not] Running A Hospital

I cannot locate the article, but I think it was Art Buchwald who once wrote a humorous piece about competition between the two airlines who ran shuttle services between New York and Washington, DC. It went something like this:

The piece opens with a phone call to the US Airways agent. “I see you just raised your fares to New York.”

“Yes, we did that to compete against Pan Am. They just raised their fares.”

“Wait, I thought the idea of competition was to lower prices.”

“Why would we do that? If we lowered our fares, and they followed suit, it would be a race to the bottom. We would both lose money.”

Recently, Tufts Health Plan (730,000 members) and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (1 million members) announced a plan to merge here in Massachusetts. This would leave two major insurers in the state, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield (3 million members).

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Accountability? Heaven Forbid!

PAUL LEVY

Originally published 1/10/11 on Running A Hospital

At a recent talk, Dartmouth’s Elliott Fisher facetiously remarked that we cannot yet be sure whether accountable care organizations (ACOs) will actually be accountable, caring, and organized. Well, if some providers have their way, they certainly won’t be accountable.

This story by Jordan Rau in the Washington Post relates comments being made as Medicare writes its rules governing the ACOs. Here are some quotes: 

Five Inevitable Trends That Will Change Physician Practices

BRIAN KLEPPER

Over at iPractice, a Sanofi-Aventis site aimed at helping physicians manage their practices, I detail several rapidly emerging trends – clinical/financial performance transparency, clinical decision support, a medical management revival, value-based benefit design and medical homes – as well as how physicians might respond.

The core thesis here is that these trends are inevitable, brought on by a system that lags far behind most industry sectors, with costs so wildly out of control that a large and rapidly growing percentage of individual and corporate purchasers have been priced out of the coverage market.

Head over and take a look. The goal is to help physicians face these trends head on so they can prepare to succeed as they take root and come to dominate the marketplace. Feel free to pose questions, and I’ll do my best to respond quickly.

Mapping Hospital Quality: The Commonwealth Fund’s WhyNotTheBest.org

BRIAN KLEPPER

Let’s say you’re the local Chamber of Commerce exec, or the newspaper editor, or the Chair of the County Commission, and someone points out that your community’s hospital(s) displays substandard quality, based on data the hospital itself had submitted. Think you’d ask for a meeting with the local hospital CEO?

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