The Efficiency Trend for Hospitals Actually Hurt Them

This article in the WSJ was pretty amazing. Without a subscription you probably can’t get to it so I will highlight some important points. My comments in parentheses.

  • Health systems have kept a tight rein on employee numbers and expanded outpatient care, helping their finances but making them less prepared for a medical crisis (yeah, no shit).
  • The Phoenix-based nonprofit hospital system, Banner Health, relentlessly focused on costs. It trimmed labor, the largest expense for any hospital. The result was a financial powerhouse with $6.2 billion in cash and investments and a bond rating that is the envy of corporate financial officers. (Money made on the back of their skeleton crew of docs and nurses. Disgusting,)
  • As Arizona’s count of Covid-19 cases began to rise by 1,000 a day, Banner’s hospitals filled with very sick patients needing one-on-one help from critical-care nurses. There weren’t enough. (Hmmm, wonder why?)
  • “They are not the ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ charitable institutions that hospitals once were back in the 19th century,” said Martin Gaynor , an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies the health industry. “These are big businesses.” (And that is the problem.)

I highly recommend you read the rest but the bottom line is that doctors and nurses are chess pieces in a game they aren’t even allowed to play. Hospitals are trying to replace doctors with nondoctors while cutting nurses to the bare minimum. Why? Because they are bleeding money? No. See their profits noted above. And they want you to feel bad for them, and bail them out, when a crisis like COVID hits?

I don’t think so.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]

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2 Responses

  1. Seneca says:

    “They are not the ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ charitable institutions that hospitals once were back in the 19th century,”

    Most of them are the most profitable non-profits you will ever see!

  2. Stewart says:

    Need to fix your headline.

    The efficiency trend hurt patients, nurses, and physicians.

    It didn’t hurt hospitals one bit on their merry way to the bank.

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