In the article by Arthur Lazarus, M.D., about physician executives seeking business degrees (see March, page 48), the most important comment was the one at the very end. Organizations do not hire physician executives because they have MBAs. Rather, they hire those who can bring skills and talent and who also will fit well into the style and culture of the organization. Given the choice between a physician executive who has a collaborative style but no MBA and one who has a management degree but no interpersonal skills, our client organizations choose the former every time.
Jennifer Grebenschikoff Vice president Physician Executive Management Center Tampa, Fla.
Your article "Unhappy ending" (see April, page 44) was especially appreciated. Speaking to friends and other physicians around the country, I think many groups form because of a fear developed from reading journals and speaking to consultants who espouse "bigger is better." It appears that the considerations are based on the feeling that solo practitioners or small groups can't survive, that joining together will decrease expenses and that receiving money or stock now will provide for the future. Often left out of these considerations are cultural differences, differing work ethic goals and the restrictions that might ensue with mergers, sellouts or the failure of the group or the physician practice management company. It is sad for the physician and the patients.
Frank Weinstock, M.D. President Canton (Ohio) Ophthalmology Associates
The article "Unhappy ending" points out the salient feature of physician merger failures: garbage in, garbage out. It is critical that the physicians have a clear, concise and coherent plan prior to signing any legal papers binding them together. This can only be accomplished by making the necessary investments.
They need to invest money and, more importantly, they need to invest time. It is imperative that they meet over and over to develop their relationship. This enables them to develop mutual trust and their eventual business plan and corporate mission.
Norbert Leska, M.D. Chairman GrandView PHO Sellersville, Pa.