I have several concerns with the article "PHOs Losing Steam" (June 15, p. 38). First, to draw the conclusion that PHOs are losing steam based on the experiences of two Arizona hospitals seems very questionable. While my experience is that many physician-hospital organizations are facing challenges, the article provides little factual support for the bold headline.
Secondly, in the opening paragraph, the article states that four years ago the Chandler PHO was being cited by healthcare consultants "as an archetype to be copied by other hospitals across the country. . . . " Several paragraphs later the article discusses the 1994 study that my firm conducted of eight PHOs around the country, including the one at Chandler. The inference is that we held out the Chandler PHO as a model for others. Our case study of PHOs made very clear that it was designed to provide real-life examples of PHOs and their experiences-both positive and negative-and that we were not making a judgment as to the viability of any of the organizations.
Finally, my firm did not change its name. Our company, which was formed in 1993, has always had two areas of focus: consulting for physicians, hospitals, PHOs and similar entities; and consulting for medical, hospital and other health-related associations. To the extent that there has been a shift in business strategy on our part, it occurred several years ago and was totally unrelated to recent developments involving PHOs.
President, chief executive officer
Physician Hospital Organization Services
Crystal Lake, Ill.