Category: Hospitals

What the CEO Knows!!!

Note: The first half of this blog was delivered on Tuesday, August 14. While half a blog is not necessarily better than none . . .  we wanted you to get the whole thing. The entire blog appears below. Sorry for the computer glitch.

Check this out. What you will see is an invitation to attend a seminar conducted by a former hospital CEO. What will you learn? Everything you need in order to double your sales next year, that’s what!

Ponder the topics listed and the fact that the seminar only lasts 7 hours. I am guessing that Dr. Luke speaks quite quickly. And efficiently.

I do have some questions about all of this. Like. If you were CEO of “A” hospital, do you have perfect knowledge of “hospitals?”

Bottom Line. But seriously. I sort of like the idea of having someone from the other side of the desk provide an introduction to what for many of us is an unknown world. I am thinking that this approach might have some generalized applicability. Is it going to be worth the participants’ money? I am guessing that the answer is yes. 

 In what other areas might our industry benefit from having a territory guide like Josh?

What the CEO Knows!!!

Check this out. What you will see is an invitation to attend a seminar conducted by a former hospital CEO. What will you learn? Everything you need in order to double your sales next year, that’s what!

Ponder the topics listed and the fact that the seminar only lasts 7 hours. I am guessing that Dr. Luke speaks quite quickly. And efficiently.

I do have some questions about all of this. Like. If you were CEO of “A” hospital, do you have perfect knowledge of “hospitals?”

Bottom Line. But seriously. I sort of like the idea of having someone from the other side of the desk provide an introduction to what for many of us is an unknown world. I am thinking that this approach might have some generalized applicability. Is it going to be worth the participants’ money? I am guessing that the answer is yes. 

In what other areas might our industry benefit from having a territory guide like Josh?

Hospitals Becoming Drug Companies???

 Check this out, and see if you think it as whacky as I do. What we see here is the announcement that, out of frustration with soaring drug prices and drug shortages, some three hundred hospitals have formed a group that plans to manufacture its own drugs. The amazing quote here from one of the hospital administrators, “This is a shot across the bow of the bad guys,” e.g. pharmaceutical companies, is indicative of the strange line of reasoning that is behind this move.

Yeah, I get it. Every player in the health care space is trying to get into everyone else’s playground. BUT. Last I looked, setting up and running a drug company is not for the faint of heart.

Bottom Line. Yeah, I also get the fact that the Martin Shkreli’s of the world are making hospital purchasing agents, and lots of other people, hopping mad. But isn’t there an easier way to get prices and shortages under control than this.  I’m betting that yes, there actually is!!!

What Does A “Hospital” Do?

Hospital

Check out this Forbes article. What you will see is the revelation that hospitals, major hospitals, are losing money. The situation is bad now, and likely to get worse. Why?

Simple. Years ago, hospitals were places where people went to die. The costs of maintaining the beds necessary for this role were fairly low. Scroll forward, and hospitals became the places where people went for treatments that couldn’t be handled by their physicians. Increasingly, these treatments involved lots of expensive professionals and equipment to serve relatively few cases. As multiple hospitals in an area all hired these professionals and purchased this equipment, case per hospital got fewer and fewer, and revenues vs. costs got way out of whack.

The key paragraph in the article reads like this:

“Hospitals have contributed to the cost hike in recent decades by: (1) purchasing redundant, expensive medical equipment and generating excess demand, (2) hiring highly paid specialists to perform ever-more complex procedures with diminishing value, rather than right-sizing their work forces, and (3) tolerating massive inefficiencies in care delivery (see “the weekend effect”).”

So. Costs continued to rise as a percentage of revenues. Salaries and huge investments in things like EHR caused financial strains, with government and insurers limiting payments making things even worse.

What next?

Bottom Line. As is spelled out so clearly in this article, the future financial health of hospitals cannot be achieved by tweaking. New answers to questions like what do hospitals do and how can they do it most efficiently need to be brought forth. What will all of that look like?

Good question!

An Increasingly Crazy World

An Increasingly Crazy World

By the time you read this, you will all know who this is. Stephen Paddock, the man who this past Sunday night shot scores of people to death, and wounded hundreds of others, from the window of his hotel room in Las Vegas.

A tragedy of epic proportions. Unfortunately, such events are increasingly common in recent years. ER’s in the area where such events occur obviously need to be able to switch into incredibly high gear, and do so rapidly. Check out this article.

Bottom Line. Special plans and training are clearly required for an ER to be able to deal with such carnage. Exercises. Drills. Mercifully, it is still a low probability that any one ER in any one locale will need to demonstrate its competency under such conditions, but when this circus comes to your town you have got to be ready.

Sad! So very, very sad!!!

“Balance Billing”

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A new Texas law that took effect on September 1 requires freestanding ER’s to inform patients, in advance, if care that will be provided to them will involve out-of-network physicians and thus the potential for surprise bills for balances beyond usual copays.

Interesting. Actually fascinating. As discussed in this report, most states do not have in place laws that protect patients from surprise “balance billing.” AND. Since creating a Federal law to protect consumers in this area might “prove difficult,” it would seem that the states will need to step forward to take responsibility here.

Bottom Line. Since an analysis reveals that almost a quarter of emergency visits are made to in-network hospitals but involve care by non-network physicians and thus surprise bills, this is not a trivial problem. The Texas legislation, while arguably not perfect, is clearly a step in the right direction!

Hospitals Should Be Cold/Sterile/Clinical Right???

TED

Wrong!!! Check out this TED talk. From it, you will indeed learn a form of counterintuitive thinking that needs to be embraced. Here’s the idea. “Architecture can be used to heal.” Through proper design, buildings can be constructed that can have positive impact on medical outcomes. A shame, the presenter observes, that better use is not made of this well-known, but less than salient, fact.

Bottom Line. A gazillion years ago when I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation in psychology, I cited the work that had been done on mental hospital design. Make state hospitals (remember them?) a series of buildings with long halls, and you can make crazy people pace those halls and get crazier. Conversely, as this TED talk reveals, simple ideas like providing each patient with her own hospital window can have a positive effect on physical health outcomes. 

 Isn’t it time to start to put these ideas to work?

 

Active Shooter Preparation for Hospitals???

Steve Crimando

Yup. Think about it. Hospitals are at special risk for violence. Patients who believe they or loved ones were harmed by the hospital can come seeking revenge. Due to the hubbub of people constantly coming and going, security constitutes a real challenge at most hospitals. And hospitalized patients are obviously vulnerable targets since many of them don’t move easily. Therefore, 95% of hospitals already have an “active shooter” policy in place.

BUT. These policies are often antiquated and in need of updating. There are even webinars on the topic, like this one being run by the expert on the topic pictured above.

Bottom Line. Should you attend this webinar or even think about this topic very much. Probably most of you should not. BUT. Being aware of such issues further heightens our awareness of some often-overlooked complexities of elements of the healthcare marketplace that we serve. Put another way, buying our product is NOT the only thing that providers and provider institutions have on their minds!!!

 

 

Hospital Consolidation: Between A Rock And A Hard Place

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Here’s a tough one. According to one blogging Pediatrician, there is a “mountain of evidence” against hospital consolidation in a geographic area. Consolidation, it is reported, leads to higher hospital costs, less physician independence, etc. Sort of what one would expect of a monopolistic situation.

BUT.

For years, we have heard of competing hospitals in a geographic area with empty beds, redundant purchases of high-priced capital equipment, etc.  What’s the right answer here?

Bottom Line. As a famous philosopher once noted, “Who knew healthcare could be so complicated?” Redundant hospital capacities serving a geographic area can clearly no longer be tolerated in an era in which we are trying mightily to reduce healthcare costs. It is equally clear, however, that consolidation cannot be allowed to lead to monopolistic pricing. Somehow, I am sure that with all the compensation schemes being worked out in healthcare, there must be a way to accomplish the benefits of consolidation without encountering its downsides!

What Hospitals Waste

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Ever work in a hospital? A big hospital? I have, so this article from our old buddies at ProPublica really doesn’t surprise me all that much. It describes the practice of hospitals throwing away millions of dollars of perfectly good medical equipment for “safety reasons” (???).

It also describes millions of dollars in medical equipment being stolen each year, only to appear for sale on eBay.

The only good news here is that organizations such as Partners for World Health are springing up to grab a lot of this equipment and send it to parts of the world where it is desperately needed.

Bottom Line. Is a key first step in the direction of reducing healthcare costs the elimination of flagrant waste? A 2012 estimate pegged the “squandering” in health care at $765 BILLION!!! More than the entire budget of the Defense Department.

Maybe the right place to start reducing healthcare costs is not in the reduction of EpiPen prices after all!!!