"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some Things That I Think That I Think At The End Of A Week

First, Happy 18th Anniversary, a day late.  The Western Maryland Health System was formed on April 10th 1996.  Wow, how time flies when you are having this much fun.  At least, it became a lot more fun several years after the formation of the System.  Those first three years were a nightmare, but on the positive side it was a character building experience for me personally.

While blogging about anniversaries, it was three years ago today that I started the Ronan Report.  I think that it's time to write a book; I certainly have enough material.

Congratulations to Dr. Jerry Goldstein, our new Chief Medical Officer.  Dr. Goldstein was appointed to the position this week and has done a great job as interim CMO over the last three and a half months.

We had a great meeting of the President's Clinical Quality Council this week.  A wonderful presentation on patient satisfaction as it relates to our physicians by Karen Johnson and some of the best practices around the state that could even make our scores higher by Cindy Bridges.  Rounding out the presentation was Karen Howsare on our Perfect Circle of Care.  Lots of great discussion, ideas and suggestions thanks to Drs. Allaway, Haas, Dusenbery, Lamm, Khanna, Zaman, Goldstein, Wolff, Chappell and Watkins.

At that meeting, it was also interesting to hear their reaction to the release of how much Medicare has paid to physicians.  Overall, the reaction was one of surprise, but more importantly, this will now bring a lot of scrutiny on what physicians are paid.  Investigative reporters across the country have been salivating to get their hands on this information.  By the way, the leader of the physician Medicare billing hit parade was a South Florida ophthalmologist who was paid $21 million by Medicare in 2012.  Oh,my!

What was surprising at the release of what physicians have been paid by Medicare is that payment information was never before shared in the 50 years of Medicare's existence.  Also, I have it on very good authority that at the time the Affordable Care Act was being created the American Medical Association, the drug companies, AARP, the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association, just to name a few were told that "if you aren't at the table, that you will be on the menu" meaning if you don't support the ACA, life could be difficult for those you advocate for.  No surprise there; that's politics.  After all, I watch House of Cards, I know how these things work.

In closing and to add some amusement to my day, I am sitting at my desk finishing my blog and out my window is a woman sitting on the wall in front of the hospital smoking a cigarette with her feet comfortably positioned on our "No Smoking" signs.

Enjoy your weekend!

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