To rise above the crowd at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society convention in Orlando, Fla., this week, technology companies are signing up marquee names and building on them.
Vendors may not be able to compete with Microsoft Corp.'s version of "Rebel with a Cos," a non-HIMSS staging of computer power followed by the star power of comedian Bill Cosby (Feb. 2, p. 54). But they do have sports-related figures Curly Neal and Greg Gumbel.
Neal will take the court at the Orlando Magic Arena about the time Cosby takes the stage at the Orange County Convention Center. The former Harlem Globetrotter will run through the same ballhandling antics that he showcased decades ago, courtesy of Science Applications International Corp., which is hosting an evening of drinks and food in the arena.
The next day, IDX Systems Corp. will stage top-of-the-hour interviews by Gumbel, host of NBC's football pre-game show, "NFL Live." Only this time he'll be interviewing top IDX execs, complete with graphics behind him just the way they appear over the shoulders of TV commentators.
IDX, long an ambulatory information systems company, is setting up the booth as a football field with goal posts and end zones, hoping to score with a pitch for its integration efforts with Phamis, a mainly hospital-based information systems vendor it acquired last year.
He's a gamer. The days leading to the $100 million cancer and AIDS clinic deal between Montefiore Medical Center in New York and Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Bentley Health Care were trying for Bernard Salick, M.D.
Bentley founder Salick had apparently conquered the negotiations with few problems, but how he would tackle the Feb. 9 announcement of the deal was a big question mark.
Salick is well-known for energetic, sometimes joke-laden, presentations at press conferences and shareholder meetings. But he fell backward during a Feb. 6 aerobics workout in Florida and broke his left wrist trying to brace his impact.
The injury, however, seemed to have left Salick unfazed. The New York Times remarked on his "trademark braggadocio" that day.
Special pundit. Outliers recently took note of former special prosecutor and U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova's penchant for popping up on TV to pontificate on every scandal du jour (Feb. 2, p. 60). Well, it seems we aren't the only ones who noticed the omnipresent diGenova.
House Democrats recently criticized diGenova and his law partner and wife, Victoria Toensing, for "appearing all over television . . . when the House Committee on Education and the Workforce was paying them $25,000 a month to investigate the Teamsters (Union)," according to a story in the Washington Post.
DiGenova also is on retainer with the American Hospital Association to work on its fight against the Justice Department's use of the federal false claims act to punish fraud-and-abuse violations.
Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.) told the Post that diGenova's "relentless self-promotion and nonstop mugging for the likes of Geraldo Rivera" were "unseemly and undignified."
Harassed. You might think physicians would be unusual targets for sexual harassment, but you'd be wrong. More than a third of female physicians -- 36.9% -- perceive they've been sexually harassed, according to an analysis at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
The findings, based on a survey of 4,501 women physicians, appear in an upcoming issue of the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine.
Sexual harrassment was more common in medical school (20%) or during residency, internship or fellowship (19%) than in practice (11%).
According to the researchers: "Our findings suggest that much of the harassment problem resides in an area theoretically immediately available for improvement: the training environment."
Finding its way back. As if Coastal Physician Group didn't have enough problems, its Doctors Health Plan has been cited for 51 violations by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
The plan is scrambling to correct such conspicuous wrongs as failing to implement a quality management program, requiring enrollees to obtain prior authorization for out-of-network emergency services and lacking a facility credentialing program.
Regulators also worried about turnover, with four presidents, four treasurers and four corporate secretaries during the plan's three-year history.
Durham, N.C.-based Coastal is trying to regain profitability after straying from its core business of hospital-based physician management. Its stock, which peaked at $40.25 three years ago, traded at less than a dollar last week.
Yet operational problems apparently didn't hurt the plan's growth. It counts 42,000 enrollees, up from 28,000 last September. "We're growing so fast we didn't pay attention to a lot of the details," Bertram Walls, M.D., told Durham's Herald-Sun newspaper. Walls, chairman of Doctors' board, was named president following the latest resignation, of Deborah Redd.
The sports beat. Last week Outliers reported on a sports-related performance-enhancement program linked with skater Nancy Kerrigan. Now comes word that Cal Ripken Jr., the Baltimore Orioles star third baseman, has teamed up with Baltimore-based Sinai Health System to develop sports-specific training programs for athletes in the Baltimore and Washington metro areas.
The first Cal Ripken Jr. Sports Acceleration center is expected to open this spring in Columbia, Md. Ripken and the Orioles' strength and conditioning coach will review all training programs while Sinai will manage the facilities. The centers will use Frappier Acceleration Programs, a training system customized for each athlete's sport, position, and strengths and weaknesses in order to build the athlete's power, agility and speed.
The deal is right up Sinai's alley. The two-hospital system emphasizes wellness and preventive medicine. It already operates a fitness center, Sinai WellBridge Health & Fitness in Baltimore.