Managed care is rearranging the medical Mecca of Philadelphia. Through a series of mergers, acquisitions and affiliations, at least nine hospital networks have sprung to life in the city and five surrounding counties.
According to a list developed by the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, the networks include Albert Einstein Healthcare Network; Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation; Crozer-Keystone Health System; Franciscan Health System; Graduate Health System; Healthshare Group; Mercy Health Corp.; Temple University Hospital Healthcare System; and University of Pennsylvania Health System.
"The day of the stand-alone hospital is over," says I. Donald Snook Jr., president of Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia, a teaching hospital known for its expertise in cardiology and geriatrics. Presbyterian recently announced its intent to merge with the University of Pennsylvania Health System, a network that's been particularly active in buying up physician practices (May 22, p. 24).
Still, a number of hospitals with fewer than 200 beds remain unattached. In Philadelphia the move to consolidate is just beginning and the development of fully integrated financing and delivery systems remains at least five years away, says Steven Levin, a managing director with APM, a New York-based consulting firm.
Salud.Cedars Medical Center in Miami is hoping to gain some porcentaje del mercado (market share) with a new Spanish-language syndicated health magazine, Salud y Vigor.
Phoenix-based McMurry Publishing fashioned the customized marketing device after Vim & Vigor, its flagship quarterly title. But Salud has a Latin-oriented content all its own.
In April, 25,000 copies of the premier issue were sent to American Express cardholders in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As the publication's first licensee, Cedars hopes to attract patients to its International Center, which caters to affluent foreign consumers and business travelers.
Latin countries are developing a "ravenous" appetite for healthy lifestyles information that isn't being met, said Lourdes Nieto, director of marketing for Cedars.
The first cover story is an interview with popular Miami-based talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, who discusses topics such as the growing Latin awareness of prevention and the importance of not drinking the water during travel.
Hopeful research.A Hope, Ark., woman is offering others the very same gift that changed her life-knowledge.
Just over a decade ago, Janice Guthrie was diagnosed with granulosa cell cancer, but she didn't pray for a miracle-instead she went to the library. Through her research she was given new hope and information that would change the course of her life physically and professionally.
After beating the cancer, Guthrie formed Health Resource, which gives patients more than the either/or choice often offered by physicians. Guthrie and her company have leaped the bureaucratic boundaries that healthcare has formed by offering a fresh alternative: a customized research report ranging from 50-250 pages that includes options, treatments, self-help measures, research and physician referrals.
Through computer technology and worldwide access to medical schools, libraries and universities, the most current medical information can be analyzed and shared with clients.
The cost, which ranges from $195 to $250, is small compared to the amount of information. "In a time of rapidly spiraling healthcare costs and patients' perceptions that their healthcare choices are being limited, we are in a satisfying position to help patients expand their treatment options and save their medical insurers money at the same time," said Guthrie.
Health Resource also offers its services to physicians in search of understanding the more uncommon types of diseases. Guthrie believes that eventually hospitals will have their own in-house information services much like the one Health Resource provides.
Getting 'em where they live.Now playing on the Internet and coming to a Massachusetts employer lobby near you: the Blue Cross and Blue Shield multimedia show.
The Massachusetts insurer earlier this month opened a "home page" that answers healthcare questions, lists health-related events in the area and, of course, tells all about the Mass Blues' products and networks.
A second information outlet-an interactive kiosk custom-made for the insurer-can give out detailed information about primary-care physicians, prescription drugs, wellness topics and managed-care jargon.
The touch-screen kiosk looks like an ATM machine except that it's guided by an on-screen video "host." It provides laser-quality printouts as well as a direct phone line to customer service reps.
The most common inquiry during trials may be a comment on our times: "Tell me about Prozac."