Business Consumer Guide magazine's new World Wide Web site, the HMO SmartPages, gives businesses and individuals a way to comparison shop HMOs in their geographic area.
The SmartPages site offers two main features, a directory that allows users to search for HMOs by state or name, and a report educating consumers about issues to consider when looking for a health plan.
The consumer publication surveyed HMOs over the last three months to collect information for its database of more than 200 health plans. Publisher Greg Kavet said the HMO SmartPages will have all 530 of the nation's HMOs cataloged in its database "in about a month."
HMO information available on line includes current enrollment, the number of physicians, the method by which doctors are compensated and the accreditation rating the HMO received from the National Committee on Quality Assurance.
The SmartPages is targeted primarily to businesses shopping for HMOs. Much of the consumer information deals with group healthcare purchasing, and some HMOs listed may not cover individuals or small businesses.
The HMO SmartPages can be accessed at http: www.buysmart.com/hmo/hmoindex.html/.
Meanwhile, for an on-line healthcare database geared toward employees and individual consumers, check out Lexington, Mass.-based MedAccess Corp.'s Health Fair Online at http: www.medaccess.com.
Companies can purchase for about $5 to $10 per employee their own specific Health Fair account that allows employees to log in with personal identification numbers and find out exactly what benefits the employer offers.
Employees can read the details of the deal between their employer and the health plans, and explore the database of 793 managed-care organizations, which includes Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set reports on 146 of the largest plans, allowing users to comparison shop.
Health Fair Online allows users to fill out sample health plan enrollment forms, and calculates the payroll deduction for each option. When employees have found a plan that satisfies them, they can enroll on line.
If you can't beat 'em...
Whether due to the perils of managed-care contracting or tightening competition, the Metropolitan Medical Society in Kansas City, Mo., thinks its members need to boost their business skills. So, in conjunction with a local business school, it's sponsoring a management education program for physicians.
For this graduate-level curriculum, only doctors need apply. "All course materials will address structural and business policy issues specific to the medical and healthcare (industries)," said Ronald L. Cosens, the medical society's executive director.
One night a week, some 18 to 30 medicine men will meet at the Henry W. Bloch School of Business at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. All course work will count toward an MBA degree.
You know a new day has dawned when docs have to go to business school to learn how to make a living.
Bach and billables.
Detroit Medical Center will have an unusual landlord when it moves into its new corporate headquarters in 1998: a symphony orchestra.
DMC has agreed to lease 70% of the office and retail space at a complex being developed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra adjacent to symphony hall.
The complex, an effort to revitalize downtown Detroit's once-fashionable Woodward Avenue corridor, also will include a public high school for the fine arts and performing arts.
Symphony Music Director Neeme Jarvi said high school students will be able to learn from distinguished artists who perform with the symphony, such as Isaac Stern, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin.
No word on what synergies might be created between the maestros and medical center execs.
Hospitals 'n' hoops.
More hospitals may be interested in hooking up with professional sports teams to develop health clubs or fitness and wellness centers.
Last month, the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic and Florida Hospital finalized plans for a $30 million health and sports center. The 350,000-square-foot complex will feature a family-oriented health club, a sports medicine center and training facilities for the Magic as well as the Orlando Solar Bears, an International Hockey League Team. It is scheduled to open in 1997.
"There are other professional teams that are taking a serious look at the same thing," said Robert Dykstra, chief executive officer at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Healthcare Equities Group, which is working with Florida Hospital and the Magic as a consultant on the design, construction and operation of the project. Dykstra said that because of the confidential nature of negotiations, he couldn't disclose teams or hospitals considering projects.
We thought we had heard most of the hospital jargon out there, but the recent book Emergency! True Stories from the Nation's ERs, by Mark Brown, M.D., (Villard) provides a glossary that includes some terms heretofore unfamiliar. A sampling:
GOMER: Originally an acronym for Get Out of My Emergency Room, a reference to patients whom physicians don't want to see. Now used for any senile elderly person who can't describe their symptoms. In such cases, every screening test is ordered, known collectively as a "gomergram."
Negative wallet biopsy: A cash patient without funds.
CTD: A term for a patient nearing death, an acronym for "Circling the Drain."