No mission, no point
In Michael Romano's cover story, "Healthcare hath no fury" (July 21, p. 6), the American Hospital Association's Richard Wade was on the mark when he suggested the Baptist Health System about-face in its discussions with Triad Hospitals had more to do with the Baptist mission than with the surface tension between not-for-profits and for-profit chains.
As a former Baptist staffer involved in a "mission renewal" process in the late 1990s, I can attest that the Baptist mission--which starts with, "As a witness to the love of God, as revealed through Jesus Christ"--is truly taken seriously by many throughout the organization. Many employees and physicians alike confirmed the core values of that mission.
While in my experience BHS has always been a forward-thinking organization, one has to wonder if leadership became too focused on the concept of "no margin, no mission," threatening what many saw as the very soul of the organization. With the likes of for-profits such as HealthSouth Corp. and Tenet Healthcare Corp. and other strong competitors in its market, Baptist's mission was always touted as a point of differentiation and organizational strength. A move to join Triad and just be a part of a stable of 50-plus hospitals might have been seen by many as diluting that strength in the sole pursuit of access to capital, access that might have been gained by less invasive means.
It will be interesting to see how Baptist's new leaders will balance the mission with financial health, continued clinical quality and competitiveness in a burgeoning market.
I hope they succeed.
Vice president of health services development
West Virginia United Health System
Privileges not canceled
Our attention was directed to your brief article appearing in Modern Healthcare's July 25 Daily Dose relating to physician Michael Richman. Please note that Michael's surgical privileges were not canceled by hospital officials.
Rather, they asserted that his privileges were voluntarily relinquished because of the existence of a hospital bylaw which provides among other things that a plea of "nolo contendere" to a charge of violation of law involving banned substances automatically constitutes a relinquishment of privileges.
Moreover, your story asserted that Richman was charged with being under the influence of cocaine, which of course was not what he was charged with. In fact, it was a misdemeanor charge of use of cocaine.
For your information, the hospital's bylaw referred to above clearly violates the social and public policy of the state of California which has been repeatedly cited by the California Appellate Courts.
Under normal circumstances we would refrain from correcting a member of the media, but in this instance, your less than careful recitation of the facts is demonstrably unfair and harmful.
Attorneys for Michael Richman
I have a simple answer to the question raised by David Burda in his July 14 editorial ("The satisfaction switcheroo," p. 21) on the reason for scuttling a Medicare patient-satisfaction survey: It was a great example of government involvement in developing more paperwork and accomplishing little or nothing.
Our organization spent significant efforts in developing a one-page patient-satisfaction survey that is simple and effective. Our patients and families have appreciated a simple, straightforward means of helping to improve patient satisfaction and quality care.
St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Nursing Home
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