Humility isn't an attribute often used to describe Larry Mathis, former American Hospital Association chairman and current president and chief executive officer of Houston's Methodist Hospital.
No one, of course, doubts Mathis' business skills. He turned Methodist into the nation's largest private hospital in the 1980s. Between 1992 and 1994, Methodist Hospital System racked up profits of $182 million.
Because Mathis has so much embodied the spirit of the new Methodist, the question of whether Mathis would step down this year has been the subject of intense speculation. Under the terms of a proposed merger between Methodist and its neighbor, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, neither hospital CEO would be considered to run the newly merged system. When the proposed deal was announced last fall, Mathis declined to talk about his future.
However, now, it appears things might change.
On Feb. 9, St. Luke's CEO, John Burdine, M.D., announced his retirement. The same day, Mathis told MODERN HEALTHCARE the two hospitals are working on a revised letter of intent. When asked whether one of the revisions addressed his status in the newly merged system, Mathis answered: "I'm the CEO and I intend to stay the CEO of this system. Under the new terms of the agreement that is not an issue."
Does that mean he's staying or going if the hospitals merge? His enigmatic answer: "My position is not an issue."
Rich in spirit.Ever walk away from $2 million?
Most of us don't have the opportunity, but that's just what Kelly Curry, former chief financial officer of Health Management Associates, did.
Outliers told you last fall that Curry quit the Naples, Fla.-based hospital chain to become a Christian missionary in Ireland. Curry had been with the investor-owned hospital chain since 1982 (Oct. 17, 1994, p. 56).
Now, we learn that when he left he walked away from unexercised stock options worth more than $2 million. That's according to HMA's proxy statement issued in advance of its annual shareholders meeting this week.
Before he left, Curry did exercise $1.4 million in stock options and continues to hold 184,625 shares. However, most of those shares are in a trust for his children, as well as a separate Christian ministry trust, the proxy reports.
Fiscal 1994 marked another strong year for HMA, which operates 21 hospitals and recently agreed to buy Cape Coral (Fla.) Hospital. It certainly was good to shareholders who saw their stock split twice during fiscal 1994.
The profitable year contributed to the compensation of the company's chairman, president and chief executive officer, William Schoen, who certainly didn't walk away from a salary of $1.3 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1994. That's triple his 1993 salary of $444,125. Because HMA had such a good year, he received 100% of his salary in bonus and an equal amount in restricted stock awards.
The compensation rewarded Schoen for his "innovation, quality and management efficiency," the proxy reported. Although he received no new stock options in 1994, Schoen exercised $7.4 million in stock options.
Up and running.A holistic-care PPO is off the ground in Chicago, with high hopes of landing major contracts with managed-care plans and other insurers.
Known as True Care, the PPO hopes to set healthcare industry standards for credentialing, quality and cost of holistic care. The venture was announced shortly after Grant Hospital in Chicago launched a separate holistic and preventive medicine program (Oct. 3, 1994, p. 44).
Holistic care's push in Chicago gained national attention earlier this month on NBC-TV's "Today Show." True Care's medical director, David Edelberg, M.D., and a patient talked about the discipline's promising future.
The PPO is being launched by a spinoff of Ethix Corp., a Portland, Ore.-based managed-care company recently bought by New York Life. But True Care's venture will be solidified once additional major insurers are on board.
The scope of the challenge before holistic medicine in its quest for legitimacy may have prompted Edelberg's sheepish smile when "Today" asked if the American Medical Association was ready to fully embrace the discipline, an unlikely event.
True Care execs are excited about the federal National Institutes of Health's allocation of $2 million to study alternative practices. "Our goal is not to compete with conventional medicine," True Care said in a statement. "Rather, we will complement conventional therapies and offer consumers a choice."
Quotable."It's just `incre.' Someone else needs to add the `mental."'-Rep. William Thomas (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's health subcommittee, saying a Democrat's assertion that Thomas' healthcare reform bill is "incremental" actually overstates the legislation's scope.
It bytes.When thousands of information systems managers gathered in San Antonio last week, conference planners' worst fears were realized. The computer system handling meeting registration crashed.
As a result, attendees at the 1995 annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society faced long lines and waits of almost an hour to check into the show at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
HIMSS Executive Director John A. Page acknowledged the problem at the opening session, which attracted a standing-room only crowd to hear keynoter and computer industry guru Bill Gates. Page told the audience of technocrats that they were getting a glimpse of the frustrations of being on the "user end of systems implementation."
Conference planners attributed the system overload to conference growth, which recently has run 50% or more. The '94 convention in Phoenix attracted 6,000 attendees. Registration surpassed 9,200 for this year's show.
Somebody should have asked, "Is there a computer doctor in the house?"