Asterisks in the notebook

Monday, March 31, 2003

This month, I’m taking a bye. No opining about Sunrise, Invacare and The MED Group. No take from this pulpit on the Northwoods position paper on competitive bidding. Instead, I’d like to deliver what lay to the right of the asterisks I put in my notebook during AAHomecare’s recent leadership conference. Here’s what turned my head in St. Petersburg:

- Ed Rozynski, an international business strategist, on the United States’ influence in the global healthcare marketplace: “We’re the gold standard in terms of technology, but in how to structure an integrated health system, we’re not the gold standard.”

- Tom Pryor, a financial consultant, on the frustrations of running a business that hasn’t examined itself: “We’re drowning in data, but we lack useful information.” If Henry David Thoreau’s old maxim about how the unexamined life is not worth living, could a corollary contend that an unexamined business is not worth running?

- James Benson, a former FDA Deputy Commissioner, said there’s a great concern at the FDA about getting CMS to respect its determinations on technology.

- Bob Wardwell, a former HCFA (now CMS) official, said people at CMS are “conflicted” about the benefits of products and the cost impact of those products.

- Wardwell, again, on CMS culture as communicated by a new administrator 20 years ago: “You think you’re running a program but you’re really running a budget.”

- Elizabeth Carder Thompson, a healthcare attorney, on Tom Scully’s interest in raising reimbursement for healthcare providers: “Tom has been quoted as saying, ‘You’re not going to solve probems with more reimbursement.’”

- John Kemp, a healthcare attorney, on some of the political wants expressed by the disabled community: “We want it all, as much as we can get, and that’s not responsible.”

- Ed Rozynski, on the U.S. managed care model: “Nobody is looking to copy the U.S. managed care system.”

- James Benson on spending for healthcare: Without being manipulative, we need to make more visible the idea that it’s okay to spend more money on healthcare.

- Wardwell on one high-ranking CMS official’s understanding of Medicare providers: “Suppliers are addicted to Medicare money and CMS acts as an enabler.”

- Jim Pyle, a healthcare attorney, on managed care: “Most everyone has acknowledged that managed care is not the answer.” HME