Plans for a physician practice management lobbying organization group have been shelved since MedPartners announced it was leaving the industry.
Last summer, MedPartners President and Chief Executive Officer E. Mac Crawford sent letters to PPM executives asking them to attend an organizing meeting. The September confab drew representatives of 13 firms (Oct. 19, p. 12).
With the Birmingham, Ala.-based giant now out of the picture, other companies must decide whether to pursue the effort despite financial problems faced by many of them. Kevin Outterson, a partner at Memphis, Tenn.-based Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, whose firm co-sponsored the September meeting, isn't optimistic.
The other industry leader, Nashville-based PhyCor, says it will rely on the American Medical Group Association for representation in Washington.
"I'll have to say honestly that many companies are watching their expenses very carefully," Outterson says. "There's a lack of enthusiasm for investing in political resources."
Demonstrated honesty. If Diogenes, that Greek philosopher with the lantern, were alive today, he would have a new calling: the Medicare billing-compliance racket. But to find an honest man in that field, he would have to update his skills a little.
A medical records trade group recommends the hiring of a "compliance specialist" in healthcare information management, who would oversee coding and documentation aspects of a corporate compliance plan.
The American Health Information Management Association, in outlining a new model program, "recommends that an HIM professional with demonstrated honesty and integrity and a strong background in coding be charged with responsibility for overseeing the HIM compliance program."
It's a man, it's a plane... Still haven't finished your Christmas shopping? Furby sold out in your local toy store? The National Community Pharmacists Association can save your holidays.
Outliers received a fax from the Alexandria, Va.-based NCPA inviting us to "give the gift of history this holiday season." For $25, we can buy A Century of Service, a 280-page history of community pharmacy in America.
As the solicitation reads, the book is a story of the industry's "first heroic champions, of a changing nation that challenged small business at every turn, and of the growth and success of a dynamic association.
"This hardcover book is the perfect gift for the pharmacist or history enthusiast in your life," it reads. Or the hyperbole fan, one might add.
Smiling at the bar. Chicago lawyers are a pretty happy lot, according to a new survey by the American Bar Foundation. Compared with disgruntled counterparts in other parts of the country, 84% of Chicago attorneys said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs.
Anyone who knows healthcare knows why this is. With Chicago-based clients like the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations lining your pockets, what lawyer wouldn't be satisfied?
Corporate house calls. It's no surprise that there's another new service out there attempting to take revenues from hospitals. But this one happens to be owned by a hospital.
CorpCare, an occupation healthcare division of Akron General Medical Center, is partnering with national ambulance operator American Medical Response, also based in Akron, on a service that will bring paramedics and emergency medical technicians to the workplace to treat minor injuries on-site. Many of those cases might otherwise go to a hospital emergency room, a time-consuming and costly prospect, says CorpCare Director Harry Kuhn.
Kuhn estimates that the service, called Mobile Business Aid, will save northeast Ohio employers two-thirds of the cost of a typical emergency room visit, which runs from $1,000 to $1,200. "Akron General's position is, they want to get (injured workers) to the arena that is the most advantageous and least costly," he says.
CorpCare expects 29 companies to sign up for the new service by year's end.
The year of the dog. Looking for that perfect stocking stuffer for the ultimate dog-lover? How about the Doggie Brigade 1999 Calendar put out by Children's Hospital Medical Center in Akron, Ohio?
The Doggie Brigade is a group of 50 photogenic canines that visit pediatric patients to pick up their spirits. The hospital's volunteer services department began the program with nine dogs in 1991.
It's the first time the specially trained dogs are appearing in their own calendar. Each month features a different hospital setting, where the dogs don scrubs and stethoscopes.
The calendars sell for $10 apiece, with proceeds going to the hospital. Do the dogs get a bite of the action?
Quotable. "The cycles of health and disease and life and death have been extant on this small planet at least since the Cambrian Era 600 million years ago. The context of this case is the recent blink of the past 75 years of healthcare in the United States."-U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery in San Antonio, in denying a motion by Humana Health Plans of Texas and its Medicare HMO to dismiss a suit by five patients claiming the HMO refused to pay for needed care. The suit is expected to go to trial next year.