With not too much time to spare, Generation X is weighing into the healthcare debate with its typical style. With the fanfare of MTV and rock musicians, the young people who brought you 350,000 new voters in 1992 through the "Rock the Vote" campaign plan to educate their masses on healthcare reform with a 40-page color booklet, "Rock the System."
"Forget every mind-numbing fact you've heard about healthcare reform. Forget the arcane sniping between advocacy groups," reads the guide's introduction. "It all boils down to this: Do you consider healthcare a basic right of all citizens, or the personal responsibility of each individual?"
The public service announcements feature appearances by popular musicians, such as Mike D of the Beastie Boys, L7 and funk musician George Clinton (no relation to Bill).
"Rock the System" estimates Americans born after 1964 (saddled already with the Generation X sobriquet) will pay more than four times the amount of taxes into the federal healthcare system than the pre-World War II generation and still lose on the investment. For example, a male born in 1967 (women will continue to pay less) will pay $262,300 into Medicare and Social Security compared with one born in 1922, who pays $54,000. At the same time, the man born in 1967 will receive $59,300 in healthcare benefits, thus losing $203,000. Meanwhile, the old-timer gets $152,600 in benefits, or $98,600 more than he put in.
With many in Congress saying "universal coverage" may leave out 5% of the uninsured, these young people could be among the millions of Americans who continue to fall through the cracks. So Generation Xers are trying to rock the system before it rolls them.
Come again?In an effort to help people better understand subacute care, the International Subacute Healthcare Association has developed its own definition of this new medical subspecialty. At least we think it's a definition.
According to the Minneapolis-based ISHA, subacute care is defined as "a comprehensive, cost-effective and outcome-oriented approach to care for patients requiring short-term, complex medical and/or rehabilitation interventions provided by a physician-directed interdisciplinary, professional team."
The ISHA then goes on to further define its definition, expounding on such words as "comprehensive," "cost-effective," "outcome orientation," "professional staffing," "program description" and "continuum of care."
While Outliers applauds the ISHA's efforts, long-winded, unexplicit definitions like these fail to answer the one question that people-both inside and outside of healthcare-continue to ask: Just what is subacute care?
Heading Hilton Head.Demand seems to be on the upswing for the administrator's job at Hilton Head Hospital in the resort town of Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Last month, Dallas-based American Medical International signed an agreement to buy the hospital with two other partners. The hospital had been managed by Quorum Health Group, Nashville, Tenn.
According to the city's newspaper, The Island Packet, at least three AMI officials interested in managing the facility have visited the hospital. "It's a desirable location, so people have been raising their hands for it," AMI Vice President Terry Linn told the Packet.
Speaking the language.When Richard Scott, president and chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., started building what was to become the nation's largest hospital system with 196 facilities and more than 42,000 beds, industry analysts were pretty skeptical, it turns out.
Mr. Scott described his experiences for attendees at the 14th Annual Montgomery Dorsey Symposium in Beaver Creek, Colo., last month. Mr. Scott began building regional networks in El Paso, Texas, and Miami five years ago, but Wall Street wasn't sure he was on the right track. "They questioned whether we could (succeed) in a non-Spanish-speaking city," said Mr. Scott at the symposium, sponsored by Presbyterian/St. Luke's Community Foundation.
Tonkel's leap.Mercy Health Plan, Philadelphia's largest voluntary Medicaid managed-care plan, is venturing into New York City with J. Rock Tonkel at the helm.
Until recently, Mr. Tonkel headed St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center in New York. A Mercy Health Plan spokeswoman said St. Vincent's had been engaged in discussions about taking part ownership in a New York-based Mercy plan. But Mr. Tonkel's abrupt resignation closed that bridge into the Big Apple, at least for now.
David Starks, president and CEO of the 140,000-member HMO, promptly recruited Mr. Tonkel as president of Mercy Health Plan of Greater New York. It will be operated in partnership with Aetna Health Plans. Ironically, Mr. Starks has resigned effective Aug. 22 to take an equity position in a new commercial insurance venture.
Contacted at his home, Mr. Tonkel said St. Vincent's board of trustees completely supported him, but that he was ready for new challenges.
Mercy Health Plan has asked St. Vincent's new CEO to table negotiations, a hospital spokeswoman said. But it's unclear whether a Mercy-St. Vincent's deal will ever emerge.
According to one theory, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York didn't approve of the Mercy Health Plan connection. St. Vincent's is sponsored by the archdiocese and the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York; Mercy Health Plan's sponsor, the Sisters of Mercy, owns and operates Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based Mercy Health Corporation of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The archdiocese declined comment.
Another squeeze.Pressure on the drug industry just doesn't let up. Once again, government officials are saying that Americans are paying too much for their medicine. This time, however, the culprit is the National Institutes of Health. The government has some rights over products developed with its help. For example, it can license the product to a competitor if one firm's prices are too high. But investigators for NIH say it has lost track of exactly how many patents result from the $8 billion it awards in research grants each year and what is being done with them. NIH says it's studying the problem.