Notice the new look as you read this week's issue of MODERN HEALTHCARE. From an updated logo to cleaner page design, we've unveiled a series of graphic changes intended to make the magazine easier to read and more attractive.
Art director Brad Alig created the new logo and other design elements, while Keith Horist, assistant managing editor/graphics, coordinated the project. Look for added white space, more color and, we hope, less eye strain as you pore over the pages.
What hasn't changed is the content. Our editorial staff remains committed to bringing readers the latest and most important developments in healthcare. But as an independent news magazine, we must do more than rehash the events of last week. Our value is helping busy healthcare executives understand how and why the industry is changing. It's been that way since the magazine's founding in 1913 and will continue into the new millennium.
But first we must get through 1999, which is shaping up to be a year of adjustment and transition for healthcare providers. Telltale signs say medical inflation is on the upswing, so watch for cost containment to dominate decisionmaking. Layoffs, consolidations and intensified efforts to streamline the way physicians and hospitals deliver medical care will grab the headlines. In addition, expect frequent references to efficiency, rationalization and accountability as providers gird for more Medicare cuts Congress mandated in 1997.
Uncertainty marks the physician side of the business as health systems re-evaluate their relationships with medical groups and physician practice management firms look to reinvent themselves after a year of financial humiliation.
While providers are tightening their belts, politicians will continue to push for a patients' bill of rights and other ways to regulate managed-care plans. And the federal government will continue to steer more Medicare beneficiaries into health plans as a way of saving money.
After years of moderate health insurance premium hikes, employers again face the prospect of near-double-digit increases. Most will grudgingly pay the added cost but will demand higher quality and enhanced customer service. In the end, isn't that what healthcare should be about?