If golf courses really are prime places to do business deals, you'd better be at the top of your game when dealing with chief executives.
Executives at some healthcare and healthcare-related companies have made Golf Digest magazine's ranking of the top 200 golfing chief executive officers from Fortune 500 companies. The ranking appears in the magazine's March issue.
At No. 1, the CEO to envy is Scott McNealy of Mountain View, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems.
But two healthcare CEOs made the top five. Robert Walter of Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health ranked No. 2, followed by Edward Blechschmidt of Melville, N.Y.-based Olsten Corp. in third place.
Further down the list were R. David Yost of Malvern, Pa.-based AmeriSource Health Corp. at No. 35, John Stafford of Madison, N.J.-based American Home Products in a tie for No. 50, and Alan Hoops of Santa Ana, Calif.-based PacifiCare Health Systems in a three-way tie for No. 60.
The list also included Jeffrey Barbakow of Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. at No. 123, Ralph Larsen of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson in a 12-way tie for No. 133, and Miles White of Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott Laboratories at No. 160.
A good liberal. Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-Calif.) is a liberal's liberal, so much so that in the midst of the 1960s anti-war movement he put a giant peace symbol on top of the San Francisco Bay-area bank he owned.
So it came as some surprise to Outliers when Stark turned up as the most fiscally conservative House Democrat in the National Taxpayers Union's review of the 1999 session of Congress.
In the rankings, which were based on 150 votes to either cut or increase spending, Stark trailed only six Republicans. Among the votes that counted was Stark's vote against the year-end omnibus spending package, which included $15 billion in increased Medicare provider payments over five years.
The irony of the ranking wasn't lost on Stark, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means health subcommittee. He fired off a tongue-in-cheek letter to Rep. Charles Stenholm of Texas, the shaman of a group of conservative Democrats known as the "Blue Dogs," asking to be named an honorary member or at least a consultant.
Of mice and men. What do beer and mice have in common? For starters, they've made strange bedfellows of Medarex, a Princeton, N.J.-based biopharmaceutical company, and Kirin Brewery Co., a Japanese beer giant.
The two have partnered to use genetically engineered mice to uncover new therapies for cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.
You would expect Medarex to have genetically engineered mice, but what's with the brewing company? Turns out that besides making a great beer, Kirin has a pharmaceutical division. Its researchers have genetically engineered mice, inserting 100% of the human genes for making antibodies. And the division has developed drugs to fight kidney, heart, immune system and allergy-related diseases.
Outliers wonders if the mice might be used to find a cure for hangovers.
If only it were that easy. The packaging of solutions to the wild and lumbering HIPAA problem has begun, and Outliers is surprised it took this long for a company to have some fun with the acronym for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Dallas-based S2 Systems recently herded a bunch of small boxes through the U.S. mail, trying to entice stressed healthcare executives with the time-honored message that a complete solution is now available. Alas, it was just a big game.
Inside the container marked "HIPAA IN A BOX" was a cute and squishable hippopotamus, along with this Marlon Perkins-like tie-in to the company's product: "A little-known fact: Every year, wild hippos are responsible for more human deaths and injuries than any other animal encountered on safari. A well-known fact: HIPAA regulations have the potential to be equally disastrous." It went on to advise recipients to visit S2's World Wide Web site "to learn how S2's HIPAA-IN-A-BOX solution can save your life (or at least your career)." Well, maybe. But at least the squishy little gray doll is a good stress reliever.
Gift of life. Jerry Adair, chief executive officer at 320-bed Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Texas, knows what it's like to be a patient.
A few days after Thanksgiving last year, Adair, 54, underwent a liver transplant at 891-bed Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Adair had a split-liver transplant, sharing the new organ with a 10-month-old girl. He's back at work now on a light part-time schedule, and he hopes to be on the job again full time in about a month. "I feel great," says Adair, who has been Good Shepherd's CEO for 13 years.
Adair needed a new liver because his was destroyed by hepatitis C. Adair believes he contracted the virus when he was 18 years old and needed blood transfusions while undergoing surgery.
Adair says he wants to encourage other health professionals to promote organ donation. "It's the gift of life," he says.