Compromising his ideology was anathema to David Kinzer.
"He was passionate about trying to make issues and ideas more apparent to himself and to the public," said his son, Craig Kinzer. He said his father "would not settle for easy answers to any issue."
An avid supporter of universal healthcare coverage, David Kinzer was an early advocate of healthcare reform as a writer, educator and state hospital association leader.
"He explored questions that challenge us as a society, such as how we are to achieve equitable rationing of healthcare services," said Robert Fanning, president of Beverly (Mass.) Hospital, who was a close friend.
Kinzer, who worked in healthcare for nearly 40 years, died in 1990 at age 70.
His healthcare career began in 1948 as an assistant editor at the American Hospital Association. He worked at the Chicago Hospital Council and the Illinois Hospital Association, where he was executive vice president and chief executive officer from 1957 to 1973. He was president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association from 1973 to 1985. After retiring, he taught public health at three universities.
It was through his writings that Kinzer wielded much of his influence.
In 1982, Kinzer presented a report to the AHA while serving as chairman of the Special Committee on Federal Funding of Mental Health and Other Services. It became commonly known as the Kinzer Report.
It reads in part: "Although healthcare cost-containment is a national priority and a primary commitment of the association, the committee believed that it should not become an end in itself. Meeting the healthcare needs of all Americans, regardless of their economic status, is still supported by most Americans."
Kinzer spearheaded efforts for universal coverage and services for the poor and uninsured. Under his leadership, the Massachusetts Hospital Association requested and received a Medicare waiver for an all-payer system in 1982-one of the nation's first attempts at global budgeting.
Through intense collaborations with state officials, he helped set up an uncompensated-care pool guaranteeing access for the uninsured. It was funded by surcharges on hospital bills.
Interest in reform.
He was instrumental in efforts to reform the state's hospital reimbursement system and was largely responsible for the Massachusetts cost-control law enacted in 1982.
Kinzer believed in the ideal of healthcare as a community service. That led to criticism of his reluctance to accept the incorporation and privatization of hospitals.
He opposed corporate interests in healthcare, "especially when they intrude upon public expectations of us as service institutions," he said in a keynote address to a hospital group in 1985.
In tense meetings with business leaders and insurance companies, Kinzer was a patient, somewhat restrained prophet, always supportive of his staff, colleagues remember.
"He conveyed a conviction that a healthcare association serves a purpose beyond that of a trade association. He felt they should share the same mission as public and non-for-profit hospitals-one grounded in the ideals of service," said Donald Dunn, former head of the Iowa Hospital Association.
In an article written one year before he died, Kinzer said, "There is no substitute for the association CEO who knows where he or she wants to take the association."
Won many prizes.
His published articles, awards and appointments run the gamut. He captured the National Trade Publication's first prize for contributed articles in 1973 for an article in Modern Hospital, the forerunner of MODERN HEALTHCARE, called "The Unmerciful Grilling of Gurtz."
"He was one of the best writers in the healthcare field, and people longed to read what he wrote," said AHA President Richard Davidson, who met Kinzer when they both did hospital association work in Illinois.
"Dave had enormous courage and strength of conviction in ways that