A celebrity patient may help cement a reputation of a suburban Chicago hospital as having a heart program that is among the best in the Midwest.
It seemed to be a surprise when Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar had quadruple-bypass heart surgery at EHS Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., July 7. But it was no surprise at Good Samaritan, where Mr. Edgar had quietly had two checkups in the last year and has a personal friend, cardiologist Firouz Amirparviz, M.D., on the hospital's medical staff. EHS launched its heart surgery program in 1986 and now does some 500 open-heart surgeries a year.
"The governor's been here as an outpatient, but we're very discreet about it," said Brian Crawford, Good Samaritan's director of public relations. Dr. Amirparviz and the surgeon who performed Mr. Edgar's bypass, Mike Bakhos, M.D., are professors at Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine. "The more (heart surgeries) you do, the better you get, but it's been tough to communicate that to the public," Mr. Crawford said. "We're certainly not trying to be opportunistic because we have had the governor." Of the centers for excellence in the Chicago area, other hospitals, such as Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill.-where some 1,400 open-heart surgeries are performed each year-are better known for heart care.
Loyola's media relations manager, Michael Maggio, put his best spin on the situation when he said: "It's not who's better than who, it has to do with your relationship with your doctor."
Top seed pulls through.Gordon Sprenger, president and chief executive officer of HealthSpan Health System Corp. in Minneapolis, has been nominated to become the next chairman-elect of the American Hospital Association's board of trustees.
The board's nominations committee chose Mr. Sprenger from a field of three in which he was the consensus favorite (June 13, p. 52). The AHA, which revealed Mr. Sprenger's nomination on July 11, foreshadowed the selection with a number of recent plugs in AHA publications about Mr. Sprenger's participation on a network panel discussion at the association's annual convention next month in Dallas.
Unless something happens along the lines of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the AHA's House of Delegates will appoint Mr. Sprenger as the board's new chairman-elect designate at the convention. He'll become chairman-elect in 1995 and chairman in 1996.
Reform, actuarily.Leave it to the nation's actuaries to chew up healthcare reform, crunch the numbers and spit out detailed analyses.
The American Academy of Actuaries has assigned 17 working groups to the task. So far it's produced nine monographs on topics such as premium costs, solvency issues, community rating and budget development. Each report provides a detailed analysis of proposed reforms and highlights potential kinks to be ironed out.
For example, the Clinton administration's premium targets understate costs by as much as 20%, the academy said. Over a five-year period, the shortfall would add a whopping $125 billion to the federal budget.
Implementing health alliances and plans will bloat administrative costs in the first two to five years, the academy said. After five years, administrative costs will decline, consuming about the same percentage of the healthcare dollar as they do today.
The academy's research has been noticed by at least one key lawmaker. Sen. Edward Kennedy's reform bill lifts language from the monograph on mental health benefits design, a spokeswoman for the academy said.
Ambulance chasing.In May, MODERN HEALTHCARE reported on the hotbed of merger and acquisition activity in the ambulance company business (May 23, p. 93). In the past two years, three ambulance "consolidators" have tapped Wall Street in initial public offerings.
Now, another is about to join the pack. Community Medical Transport, Yonkers, N.Y., has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $4.6 million in an initial public offering. The company has been in the emergency ambulance business for only five months, but hopes to join the M&A trend with some acquisition capital.
Although new to the emergency ambulance business, Community Medical does know the medical transport business. For the past 10 years, it has operated Community Ambulette in the New York metro area.
What's an "ambulette"? It's a mini-ambulance, a specialized van for wheelchair-bound passengers.
If Community Medical's IPO succeeds, it'll be a big payday. The company's annual revenues in 1993 totaled just $3.2 million.
Little bugger.It just won't go away. That annoying little service mark symbol the American Hospital Association must use when it publishes the phrase "community care network," which describes the AHA's ideal healthcare delivery system, is here to stay.
As part of a legal settlement, the AHA is forced to use a service mark, capitalize the phrase on first reference and identify it as the legal name of Community Care Network, the San Diego-based organization that operates PPO networks in 33 states and the District of Columbia. CCN filed a $40 million trademark infringement lawsuit against the AHA in October 1992 after the association began using the phrase. They settled the dispute without any monetary damages in February 1993 (Feb. 15, 1993, p. 16).
Readers of AHA publications, including Outliers, hoped the settlement's requirements would be moot after Value Health, an Avon, Conn., provider of managed-care benefit programs, acquired CCN last month. Not so, says a CCN spokeswoman. CCN will continue to operate as CCN. In fact, the terms of the settlement may require the AHA to expand its distracting disclaimer by identifying CCN as a division of Value Health, she said.