I have never described the relationship between a hospital and its employed physicians as the hospital "owning" the physicians, as Bob Cook suggests in his July 1997 article, "A new look at an old law." Clearly, the phrase conveys Mr. Cook's own view since he uses it elsewhere in the article when he says that HMOs can "own" physicians.
Personally, I find the phrase repugnant and I strenuously object to having it attributed to me. Even though the article did not use quotation marks, a casual reader could easily conclude that I had used those words.
Hospitals and physicians are attempting to work out relationships that meet their needs and the needs of their patients. Mr. Cook's language frustrates that effort and is a disservice to physicians, hospitals and the patients we serve.
Mark D. Deaton Senior Vice President and General Counsel Illinois Hospital and HealthSystems Association Naperville, Illinois
The June 1997 article "Multi or single-specialty" [physician networks] suggests the sole reason physicians form networks to work with managed care is profit. I offer additional motivation: the opportunity to affiliate with like-minded physicians to improve the quality, consistency and cost effectiveness of patient care. A network focused on continual quality improvement would:
- collect outcomes data to develop common standards of care;
- support research efforts;
- work with managed-care organizations to evaluate the appropriateness of the care currently provided; and
- develop disease management programs.
Scott Boden, M.D. Chairman, NSN Director, Emory Spine Center Marietta, Georgia