An Ohio medical group has dispensed with an often-lucrative practice of taking free hams, rib dinners and lobsters, sometimes topped off with a $250 consulting fee, all just to hear some information about new drugs, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports.
They replaced it with another moneymaking practice.
Starting this month, pharmaceutical representatives who want to shop their wares to 50-member Queen City Physicians will be asked to make an appointment to see the doctor through a new company the doctors created, Physician Access Management. The reps will pay Physician Access Management $65 for 10 minutes with a doctor. And they will get their money back if doctors don't show or get called away during the meeting.
Queen City wants to cut back on the free lunches and frequent office visits made by these representatives. "We've seen drug reps competing for the same chairs our patients need in our waiting rooms," says Pamela Coyle-Toerner, Queen City's president and chief executive officer. "Yet it's important for our doctors to get information on the latest and greatest that's out there."
Local drug reps, who did not want their names used, said the idea doesn't really offer them more valuable time with a doctor, unless they get to meet with a physician who doesn't attend the free events or one who frequently prescribes the competition's products.
What price art? Prison is a far cry from chichi Beverly Hills, Calif., where former eye surgeon Steven Cooperman practiced. But prison is where the doctor will be spending 37 months for arranging the theft of two paintings, a Picasso and a Monet, from his home to collect $17.5 million in insurance.
Cooperman, who was sentenced in late July, was found guilty of wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and other federal charges in 1999, according to the Bloomberg news service. He had remained free on $10 million bail and had been living in Fairfield, Conn.
The doctor reported his paintings missing from his Brentwood, Calif., home in 1992 after he returned from vacation, and he got a $17.5 million insurance settlement.
The snitch was the estranged girlfriend of the man who stored the works; she led authorities to find the paintings in 1997 in a Cleveland storage locker. Cooperman did not work alone. His friend and onetime lawyer James Tierney testified that he and the doctor conspired to steal the artwork. Tierney got eight months in prison earlier this year.
I believe. Call it the hospital chaplain's newest cross to bear.
Countless studies have showed that prayer or belief in a higher power leads to more positive outcomes among sick patients. Now it appears that the opposite is true, too.
A study in the Aug. 13/27 Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association, looked at the outcomes of elderly patients who wondered whether their illness was the result of God's punishment or the devil's mischief. The findings seem to indicate those people were more prone to die.
The study of 596 patients age 55 and older in 1996 and 1997 at Duke University Medical Center and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, both in Durham, N.C., demonstrated a higher incidence of death among patients who wondered "whether God had abandoned me," questioned "God's love for me," or decided "the devil made this happen."
The higher incidence occurred even when researchers controlled the study for baseline health, mental health status and demographic factors.
Roll `em. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston hopes some Hollywood-style drama will help it raise money to recover from Tropical Storm Allison, whose floodwaters did more damage to Houston hospitals in five hours June 9 than the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 accomplished in three years. Hospitals and other medical facilities there sustained an estimated $2 billion in damage, with Memorial Hermann Hospital incurring up to $400 million in total losses, only a quarter of which was covered by insurance, says system President Dan Wilford. To help win special funding in Congress and raise private revenue, Memorial Hermann produced a 10-minute video depicting the evacuation of all 560 of the hospital's patients. The video shows destruction such as flooded hallways and five cardiac catheterization labs that were wiped out.
Wilford says he's not sure whether the video will help win an appropriation for flood relief, but he thinks it will get the attention of lawmakers. "It's a good video," he says. "When you wipe out a 750-bed hospital in five hours, that's pretty dramatic."
The good news is that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations concluded earlier this month that the deaths of six patients during the flood were not linked to service disruptions.