Managers of hospitals and health systems should prepare for the day when HCFA selects providers based on the providers' costs and the quality of care their Medicare patients receive.
In a healthcare marketplace with limited resources and excess suppliers, the government clearly wants to adopt some of the practices private insurers use to control costs and reward efficiency.
In a few weeks, watch for President Clinton to unveil a Medicare reform package that allows HCFA to bid Medicare business competitively and contract directly with select providers. Until then, HCFA continues to plod ahead with its competitive bidding demonstration projects in Kansas City and Phoenix-markets the government selected for testing the approach.
Healthcare lobbyists will vehemently oppose messing with Medicare patients' unlimited choice of providers. Provider resistance already has scuttled bidding demonstration projects in Baltimore and Denver. But the government knows its current policy of administering prices is not enough to achieve competition and market discipline. In the end, a golden rule will apply: He who has the gold rules. In this case, that would be Uncle Sam.
View our redesigned Web site
We invite you to look at MODERN HEALTHCARE's redesigned World Wide Web site, at www.modernhealthcare.com.
Among the changes:
* A brighter, cleaner layout that makes the pages easier to read.
* Relocation of the navigational bar to the bottom of the page, increasing convenience.
* Placement of the latest healthcare news on the home page.
* Addition of a scrolling news ticker to all pages on the site. Later this year, we will add current prices of healthcare stocks to the ticker.
* Improved search technology for our archives, including the ability to see a "print only" version of stories.
* An "about us" page that describes the magazine and its staff.
Art director Brad Alig created the new graphic look, while Webmaster Christopher Gray coordinated the redesign with our host, Inlet, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
We welcome your comments. I can be reached at [email protected]