How do you get from the fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich to the American Hospital Association in just two moves? In fact, you can get there two ways: Jack Quinn and Joseph DiGenova.
Rich, as scandal buffs of former President Bill Clinton know, was the financier who was indicted in 1983 under charges of cheating on taxes and trading with Iran during the hostage crisis. Instead of going on trial, he went on the lam, and has lived out of the country ever since.
Clinton pardoned him in one of his last acts in the White House, bypassing normal U.S. Justice Department channels. That has been the fodder for at least one hearing by a Clinton congressional enemy, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.
Rich's attorney in the pardon campaign was Quinn, a former White House counsel. Quinn's partner in the law firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates is Ed Gillespie, the former aide to House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Texas). Gillespie now includes in his list of clients the AHA.
Quinn's attorney at a Government Reform Committee hearing was, in turn, DiGenova, the former top Justice Department attorney who has represented the AHA on healthcare fraud issues.
Know your mission. It may have been a conference for healthcare information technology professionals, but the keynote speakers knew more about laser-guided missiles and running the U.S. Justice Department than anything resembling healthcare IT. But as all good speakers do, retired NATO commander Wesley Clark and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno tried to connect with their audience.
Whether you are the supreme commander of Allied forces in Kosovo or a network administrator working in the hospital basement, "be honest, deeply committed to your mission, know your job, and know how to build a team," said Clark, who addressed attendees of the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference earlier this month in New Orleans. Having coordinated the most sophisticated technological war in U.S. history, Clark advised health information managers that for issues such as genocide in Europe or a struggling electronic medical records project, "there is no way out of the problem except to be successful."
Following Clark later in the week was Reno, who said, "Healthcare information technologists need to be better problem-solvers" and urged those in the packed auditorium to contribute not just to their hospitals but to their communities.
Reno, in her first public appearance since leaving office on Jan. 20, also recounted her experience as a special guest on "Saturday Night Live" the night President Bush was inaugurated. After breaking through a plastic foam wall to join the Janet Reno Dance Party-an SNL mainstay during the Clinton administration-a self-deprecating Reno concluded that "the world needs the magic of laughter."
Bankrupt, but in the movies. If you can't be a hospital, at least there's the dream that you can play one in the movies. That is the hopeful message behind the tale of bankrupt Memorial Medical Center of South Amboy, N.J.
With a rapidly dwindling supply of cash, the 161-bed community hospital shut its doors in July 1999, then thought better of it. But when it tried to reopen six months later, after rehiring much of the staff and sinking in money to renovate surgical and patient areas, the state pronounced it brain-dead and pulled the plug on its license. Since then it has been struggling to reincarnate itself as a long-term-care facility, same-day surgery center or medical office building. Last November the hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
What has the hospital been doing with all its free time in the months since? Well, renting itself out as a movie location, says James Monahan, who has headed the hospital since shortly after it closed. Depending on the size of the film crew, the facility earns anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 per day.
The 82-year-old building has been the backdrop for several movies, commercials and infomercials. Last November, it hosted a shoot for a film starring Richard Grieco of "21 Jump Street" fame.
One movie, however, promises to put the hospital's name on the world map. An Indian film crew recently brought in Om Puri, one of that country's biggest international stars, and filmed scenes of the soon-to-be-released "Bollywood Calling" in the intensive-care unit, operating room and Monahan's office. Monahan says his film-buff friends "went ballistic" when they saw a photo of Monahan with Puri and the movie's director, Nagesh Kukunoor.