During 1993 and 1994, Intermountain Health Care was pleased to have four of its system hospitals included in HCIA/William M. Mercer's annual ranking of the Top 100 Hospitals. As we more closely evaluate the measures used by HCIA/Mercer to select the 1995 Top 100 (Dec. 4, 1995, p. 54), we as a not-for-profit system are perhaps just as pleased to not be included.
The current measures emphasize areas that are at odds with a not-for-profit system's community-based mission. Four of the eight statistical measures used to select what MODERN HEALTHCARE reports as the top 100 "best-run hospitals" are financially oriented. Three of those financial measures relate to the maximization of profit.
This high focus on profitability is a significant change from 1994's HCIA/Mercer measures, which had only one profitability measure, and it was counterbalanced with another measure evaluating hospital charges. That charge measure has been dropped. With the added profitability yardsticks, it's not surprising that the current top 100 listing shows such a high percentage of for-profit hospitals.
IHC's mission statement, as with most not-for-profit systems, reflects our commitment to the communities we serve. These not-for-profit organizations choose to earn a bottom line based on future needs, not on current profit maximization. These systems choose to return dividends to the community in many forms: charity care, unreimbursed community services, research foundations and low charges. The fact that the not-for-profits may have a lower bottom line does not mean they are not "well run" or financially sound.
SCOTT S. PARKER
Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City