I found the cover of your June 7 issue, depicting a huge ship representing "rich hospitals" next to a life raft representing "poor hospitals," to be very sad. An appropriate name for the rich-hospitals ship would be the S.S. Titanic.
I also read the associated cover article, "Chasm grows between rich and poor (hospitals)" (p. 34), and concluded that with hospital profit margins declining, reduced Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements, discounted HMO agreements and an unraveling of the patchwork of managed-care payers, there is no such thing as a rich hospital.
It goes without mentioning that a huge "iceberg" is looming out there, and its name is "charity care and budget cuts."
In California, the uninsured population is in excess of 7 million, compounded by a fast-growing underinsured community. The "rich hospital" will surely be the focus of the Legislature and be forced to validate and account for the level of charity care it renders.
The cover story statement that "the ultimate determinant of hospital success or failure lies with management" is totally ludicrous. Today, no matter how well a hospital is managed or where it is located, if cash flow is compromised and/or cut by bankrupt payers and the government, the rich hospital can sink as quickly as, if not faster than, the poor hospital. Our industry is facing challenging times with no quick remedy.
Remember, in the movie version of "Titanic," it was the life rafts that survived.
Coast Plaza Doctors Hospital