My 30 years with this magazine are rich with memories—
memories of the people I have met and with whom to
this day I remain good friends. Sadly, many also have
passed away, but I'll never forget them, not only because of their
friendship but also because of the lasting contributions they made
to healthcare. All of them in their own ways were pioneers who
shaped this industry into what it is today, and their legacies will still
have an impact many years from now.
Healthcare has certainly become much more complicated over the
past three decades. Running any kind of healthcare enterprise isn't
easy these days, with stepped-up government regulation and oversight,
third-party payers becoming increasingly demanding, and a
corporate community more and more concerned about unrelenting
increases in the cost of healthcare for employees and retirees.
There's also a more demanding public that wants better data
about the providers delivering their healthcare—and more data
about the quality of that care. The changes at this magazine over
the years have mirrored the transformation in the industry we
cover. Back in 1976, when Crain Communications purchased Modern
Healthcare from McGraw-Hill—a milestone we're marking
with this special anniversary supplement—life was a little simpler
and many of the forces at play that today's chief executive officers
must deal with were nonexistent or in their infancy.
Medicare DRGs, for instance, didn't come into being until 1983.
At that time, there was much consternation over what such a radical
change in the payment system would mean to the industry. But
as we look back, prospective payment obviously didn't bring the
healthcare industry to its knees. In fact, hospitals did quite well
under the program in the early years, and it's a system that's now
just a fact of life for today's management teams, despite the program's
often burdensome bureaucracy.
This is also an industry that goes through waves of change. I
remember when total quality management was all the rage and
how hospital management was putting such heavy emphasis on the
fact they had instituted its basic tenets. That was to be their salvation.
Fast-forward to the past several years or so, and once again all
eyes are on the latest renditions of quality measurement and
Integration and consolidation also are certainly familiar terms to
anyone who has worked in healthcare over the years. Merger mania
is no stranger to this industry either, with so many hospitals in the
'80s and '90s deciding they needed to come together in order to
operate more efficiently by pooling their resources. A few years
later, many of those same facilities would unravel those deals after
realizing that blending diverse cultures wasn't so easy or such a
good idea after all.
The industry also has weathered many dire predictions. Remember
the impending doom forecast with the approach of Y2K? And then the
warnings of the impact of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act of 1996? Healthcare organizations would never be able to
comply with the various deadlines and mandates, we were told. But as we
look back, healthcare was once again able to prepare and adapt.
Helping the industry navigate this sea change and development
have been all the fine people who have served healthcare over the
years—people who have been our core readers. There are so many
people I could mention who, if not enshrined in Modern Healthcare's
Health Care Hall of Fame, will forever be in my personal hall of fame.
They are the people who have made a difference and who will
continue to take this industry forward, whether on the provider
side, on the payer side or on the vendor side. Serving these leaders—
all professionals totally dedicated to their disciplines—was what
made my many years as publisher of this magazine so rewarding
There's something very special about healthcare people, and I have
had the distinct pleasure and honor to be part of this industry.
When I first became publisher 30 years ago, it was our determination
that this dynamic and rapidly growing industry needed a
business newsmagazine that covered all the economic facets of
healthcare delivery. At that time Modern Healthcare was a monthly,
and we were constantly told that there just wouldn't be enough
news and advertising to support such a publication. The same dour
predictions came when we went semimonthly in 1985 and then
weekly in 1988. Somehow we never seemed to have any trouble filling
our pages with the latest in healthcare business news and trends.
The industry kept growing, as did the magazine.
Today, in addition to the flagship weekly
newsmagazine, we publish two daily e-mail
newsletters—the Daily Dose and Health IT
Strategist; a breaking-news alert service; a
monthly e-zine, Modern Physician, dedicated to
physician issues and trends; as well as two content-
rich Web sites—modernhealthcare.com
and modernphysician.com. In short, as the
industry has changed, so has Modern Healthcare. In the years and decades ahead, that's something
that will never change.
The future is even brighter.