When you are looking at health care services or even particular doctors, here are some questions to ask and things to look for.
If you sit there watching those hospital-based semi reality TV dramas, you might find yourself thinking this is just fiction. I know I am safe at the hospital; I am sure my children are in good hands.
Those money-grubbing, company centered, hospital and healthcare administrators who put dollars ahead of patient care are just some figment of a TV drama writer’s imagination. Right?
All hospitals reflect the finest in us as businesses and human beings. They are really all about taking care of people, especially the most vulnerable among us. Right?
Then along comes a real-life example like John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital where we are smacked in the face with the reality of health care and the business that controls it.
If you have not been following the Tampa Bay Times reporting of John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, here are links to the articles, and they are a MUST READ.
By KATHLEEN McGRORY and NEIL BED: Johns Hopkins promised to elevate All Children’s Heart Institute. Then patients started to die at an alarming rate.
By KATHLEEN McGRORY and NEIL BED: Top All Children’s executives resign following Times report on heart surgeries
These articles and this excellent reporting are chilling if you don’t have any small children and downright frightening if you do.
Do not, however, delude yourself into thinking this is an isolated case.
As healthcare becomes an ever-larger business, money wows increase, and you will see consolidations of hospitals, clinics and even doctor's individual practices. Revenue and profit are the driving factors behind how health care is delivered.
Anytime you see a consolidation or purchase of a hospital, clinic or large practice by a corporately run shell or hedge fund it is time to be on the alert if you are a patient.
A real tipoff is when the first page of its annual report is all about numbers and money.
The unfortunate part of all of this is there are still a lot of doctors who want to provide excellent care and healthcare administrators who want to provide the best and safest health care services they are just being overwhelmed by healthcare businesses who answer to the stock holders.
When you are looking at health care services or even particular doctors, here are some questions to ask and things to look for:
- Who actually owns the Hospital you are considering?
- Who owns the clinic or even the doctors practice you are seeing?
- Do some research and look for outcomes and lawsuits?
- Check on physician and staff turnover. High turnover is a sign of a problem.