- Del Meyer, MD - https://delmeyer.net -

The Medical Marketplace

Aetna’s CEO & COB (Chairman of the Board) received a 23% raise in cash compensation to $2.6 million. This Hartford, Conn., health-care benefits and insurance company, which last July acquired US Healthcare Inc, also increased the pay of its President by 66%. The CEO also received $3.2 million in bonuses for exceeding company performance goals for the past three years. (Thank you to all the doctors who made this performance possible.)

Our MCO had a performance evaluation last month. We noted a whole list of adjustments were inserted into the marketing concept of “per member per month” to try to correct for the variations in different practices since we only see those patients that come in. The percentage of patients to total members is now factored in. There is a dramatic increased allowance for patients of advanced age. However, acuity is still not in the equation. It would appear that those patients who have major diagnoses in three organ systems may take longer and cost more to evaluate than a similarly aged patient with stable disease in one organ system. There should be another adjustment factor for each additional organ system involved for those of us who prefer the challenge of multiple medical problems.

The president and former CEO of Humana who resigned in July 1996 was given a “goodby” package of $4.7 million.The compensation of Humana Inc’s current CEO dropped 30% in 1996 to just under one million. The company explained that despite a 45% increase in revenue, it’s profits fell 20% to $152 million. Perhaps it’s a mistake to highlight this or someone will run to Congress or the Legislature to pass a law that no healthcare CEO should have to starve on a salary as meager as only ten times the 25th percentile average of primary care physicians’ incomes.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the employment market in the home health services industry will increase 120% by the year 2005 adding 600,000 workers. The greatest needs are for RNs and LVNs… On Easter Sunday I was hoping for uninterrupted family time, when I received a call from the hospital. They had a patient whose husband was a patient of mine and they would like for their Home Health Care Service make a visit to my patient since their patient’s doctor could not write the order on behalf of my patient. When I called him to get his permission, he declined. Isn’t it amazing that in the health care field we can do all this aggressive marketing under the guise of helping people and sometimes “help” them when they don’t want or need help? To criticize that, might appear insensitive in the eyes of the public, the media, and lawmakers.

Dr Fred Garcia, owner of Slim & Slimmer Medical Associates of Newport Beach, Calif has opened 24 Diet Clinics since May 1995. “I’ve never seen a vehicle like this for seeing large number of patients. You may be talking to the next billionaire!” he says. . . Mitchell Rubinson, CEO of QPQ Corp, the Polish pizza business of Miami Beach who has opened four weight-loss centers staffed by doctors says, “It’s a wide-open market. The profit margins are much larger than in restaurants.” He hopes to expand to 36. . . Dr Don S Jensen, a former family practitioner, says his chain of 18 Manhattan Weight Control clinics has reaped $15 million in revenue last year from 45,000 people it has treated. He feels the threat of pulmonary hypertension is “a red herring… pretty much a media creation.” Last year doctors wrote a total of 18 million prescriptions a month for phentermine and/or fenfluramine (Phen/fen). Dexfenfluramine racked up an additional 2.4 million prescriptions in just its first six months. Marketing was successful to the tune of $400 million last year. Three fourths of that went to American Home, which makes “fen” and “dexfen”. (“Phen” is generic and covered by most HMOs.)

The $4.6 billion FHC and Health Systems International (HSI) merger has been completed. It trades on the stock exchange under a new name, Foundation Health Systems, Inc., (FHS) and provides coverage to 5 million “members.” FHC’s CEO who expects to get $21 million from this merger said, “I’m exhausted. . . I had no idea how much energy this would take and how emotional it would be.” A doctor who was a member of the IPA which was “spun off” in the process said she was exhausted also. Other doctors in the staff room said they would like to experience just $1 million worth of exhaustion. I guess if was rough all the way around.