Health Care News & Discussion
11/04/1995 12:28 PM
Diogenes, a Greek ascetic and philosopher who lived in poverty, slept in public buildings, and begged for food, intended to show that happiness and independence were possible even under reduced circumstances. He is best known for his answer as to why he walked about with a lantern in broad daylight, “I’m searching for an honest man.”
Congratulations to the BEE for reprinting Froma Harrop’s editorial, “Health insurance is for the big stuff” from the Providence Journal. Her comparison of an HMO to a CMO (car maintenance organization) is enlightening, stating that annual checkups, mammograms or allergy shots are ordinary expenses and not risks that can be insured anymore than mufflers, tires and a lube job. She also points out that the overhead costs and profits of an HMO paying for such routine care exceeds their charge. This increases overall health care costs, she continues, which eventually will be deducted from payroll. She supports catastrophic insurance, similar to car or homeowners insurance, which she states will eliminate HMOs. An honest and brave woman.
When Cal Edison’s lobbyist John Hughes was asked “What are the Utilities up to?” He responded, “Protecting the ratepayers!” Herb Caen retorts, “That’s like thinking the group that calls itself the health care industry is truly interested in health care.” He then cites Sal Rosselli’s listing of the top 10 CEOs in the “health care industry” as making billions. “That’s your wealth care industry in action,” says Herb. (Where’s that lamp?)
Delaine Eastin, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, pronounced the math and reading reforms employed in California schools over the last 10 years a “mistake.” Debra Saunders, in her column in the SFChron, stated that any teacher who has a child for over 5 hours a day, nine months a year for three years can have no excuse for that child not being able to read and write. For Eastin to admit a 10 year error is to her credit. An honest woman… The connection that may be lost is that schools are a government bureaucracy and any mistakes are magnified to the entire population of students and future generations. Can you imagine if medicine were a government program and it took 10 years to recognize an error–the suffering and loss of human life that would occur? In private medicine, mistakes are localized and self correct. The corollary is that if schools were private, any mistakes would only apply to that individual school and it would also self correct. It is to our patients benefit that we keep medicine, a most confidential professional relationships, private. The problem is the catch net. Federal medicare, state medicaid and county hospitals are still important… Just as the catch net for education, the public schools.
Matching Funds: When our alma mater solicits funds and states there is an employer or benefactor that matches whatever we give, a $1000 contribution becomes $2000 in benefits… Hills Physicians Medical Group now numbers over 400 physicians in Sacramento area. A former member is asking us to donate to a fund to sue us. If we give $1000 to this cause, obvious Hills Physicians will have to spend $1000 to defend the action and deduct that $1000 from their payment to us–a matching cost rather than a benefit–and the entire $2000 goes to attorneys even before the judge awards damages. Although I wish that HPMG would reconsider several of the physicians and surgeons they eliminated who I thought were the most cost effective of any members, I would have to echo an attorney who said, “If you were honest with yourself, you’d realize that only the attorneys win in these cases.” (This paragraph eliminated by Bill Sandberg)
Double Rock, a SF housing project neighborhood, former home of OJ, gangs, and crack dealers, adjacent to the Bay in the shadow of Candlestick, had 6 murders last year at the corner of Griffith and Fitzgerald, known as the “Kill Zone.” None of the murders have been solved even though they were committed with numerous witnesses. No one talks for fear of retribution. How to keep an honest man quiet… On the morning of the OJ verdict, the SFChron reports that a teenage girl was running down the same street shouting that “We got away with murder this time.”
Of the numerous doctors we’ve asked to tell us how they like their “new professional living arrangements,” some have responded in confidence but declined to be quoted. Do physicians fear retribution if they’re honest? But who’s getting away with murder here? Come back, Diogenes, help us; or did the lamp go out?
Peter Ustinov, who played historical characters, dreamed that he was named pope and he chose the name “Not Guilty.” When asked “Don’t you mean Pope Innocence?” He replied, “I’m NOT Innocent; I’m Not Guilty.”
Hollywood CPA: After grossing more money than any other film, Forrest Gump is still losing money. Sounds like the same accounting that doctors have, the more patients you see, the more you lose. It’s getting hard to make an honest living.
David Samuels, a graduate student at Princeton, reports in the Wash Post which was carried by the BEE, “So you want to get into an elite university? Try lying.” He chronicles a new kind of student gaining entrance to our elite universities on the strength of life-stories with which they have duped admission committees. One admissions office even embellished a cowboy story with, “On a visit to campus in March, he slept indoors for the first time in 10 years,” before they sent that story to wealthy alumni. Later in the year he was found to be an exconvict from Utah. His attorney answered Princeton’s accusations of fraud: “He tried to follow the only path available to him to better himself.” He actually was a track star, and had impressive SAT scores, which were verified as his own… Samuels gives numerous examples of campus impostors who were actually quite ingenious. They just didn’t think they had a chance on proving their skills by being honest. So they invented new characters for themselves with illustrious pasts.
Carl Sandberg is alleged to have said, “Can we be honest for just 5 minutes, even though this is Chicago?”
The medicine department of the combined staff of the Carmichael Hospitals “elected” a new chairman–his third term in a decade or so. In a department of over a hundred members, there were 10 members present and he was “elected” by a vote of 6 with 4 abstentions. Can we be honest and just call this an appointment, just like any other political appointment by the spoils system, even though this is Sacramento?
Torrance psychiatrist Irwin Savodnik, MD, PhD, has thrown his stethoscope in the ring for a seat in the US House of Representatives for 1996. He has been disgruntled with politics, so he changed his party registration in 1993 and ran for the seat until he found out that he had to be a Republican for 12 months before running in the June 1994 primaries. He returned all his campaign contributions (an honest man) and is once again getting serious. He’s reading the constitution, history, economics, and politics at the rate of 100-200 pages a day. Dr Savodnik reassures physicians, “The amount of good the average physician does in one day is more than most politicians do in their entire careers.” Can we get that lantern lit again in DC?