Sand Bags and Hot Air: A Closer Look at Hospital Margins

In the summer of 1783, two brothers from a French family of paper manufacturers, after noticing ash rising in paper fires, gave their first public demonstration of a balloon using hot air for buoyancy. On Aug. 27 of the same year, in a Paris field where the Eiffel Tower now stands, a crowd of onlookers that included Benjamin Franklin cheered the release of the world’s first hydrogen balloon. The unmanned balloon drifted north for 45 minutes before descending in a nearby village... More

Weathering the Storm: Advance Preparation Helps Avoid Patient Care Disruption


The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been anything but merciful to the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico with the recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. While we had warning they were coming, other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and wildfires can strike with little or no warning. Obviously, we can’t avoid natural disasters completely, but hospital leaders and staff must prepare for them.


High-Deductible Health Plans: An Optical Illusion

Do you remember the first time that you ever saw a mirage? For most of us, it was the illusion of a sheet of water on blisteringly hot pavement as we gazed toward the horizon. Now we know that it was the product of refraction, of light bending in the heated air, but the first time we saw it we were sure there was a lake up ahead. From time to time, what may appear to be obvious is really our eyes playing tricks on us. More

CMS Comes UN-bundled?

Admit it. You thought I was going somewhere else with that, didn’t you? To be fair, the agency did say it disagreed “with commenters who suggested that CMS withdraw these models altogether …” More

Improve Patient Experience to Attract and Retain Savvy Consumers

In today’s marketplace, customers increasingly utilize information from other consumers to inform decisions about where to spend their money. With the proliferation of ratings features similar to those of Yelp and Amazon, one bad experience can cost an organization loyal or potential customers and damage its reputation. This is true not only for retail stores and restaurants but for health care systems as well. Offering a superior care experience has become a foundational aspect of an... More

Forecast Calls for a Perfect Storm for Driving the Compensation Revolution

As nationally acclaimed heart and lung transplant surgeon and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist once said, “Our nation cannot control runaway medical spending without fundamentally changing how physicians are paid.” It’s true. And with roughly 60% of physicians employed by health systems, productivity and compensation is a top concern for many hospital executives. More

Vote-A-Rama … is a Thing on Capitol Hill

The last time yours truly tried to look into her crystal ball (March 2017) and channel nearly a decade of political and policy gut instinct, the verdict (per a previous blog post) was “that the complete overhaul or ‘repeal and replace’ of the ACA is likely off the table for the foreseeable future.” Six weeks later, on May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. It then moved to the Senate.       ... More

Hanging Together: Strategies and Practices for Successful Physician Partnerships

Health care reform can be as befuddling as quantum physics. But it has one aspect that’s as easy to understand as a first-grade arithmetic problem: The transition to value-based payments means that hospitals, health systems and physicians must work together as a cohesive team. Or, as Ben Franklin put it to his fellow patriots, “We must all hang together or assuredly we will hang separately.” More

Taking It to the Top: Talking to Your Board about Cyber Liability

It’s Thursday afternoon and when you return to your office after lunch, the head of IT is waiting for you. He notifies you the organization has been targeted by a sophisticated foreign phishing attack and over the last two days employees have been clicking on an email, inadvertently exposing information on nearly 20,000 pediatric patients (either by giving up credentials or allowing malware to infiltrate your network). More

“Free Soloing” Health Care Reform

A few weeks ago, Alex Honnold, the groundbreaking 31-year-old rock climber scaled Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan wall without using ropes or any other safety gear. The astounding, and beyond dangerous, “free solo” climb was viewed by many as one of the most memorable rock climbing achievements ever accomplished.   Watching the risky feat made me think about the current battle over health care reform. OK, I know that’s a bit of stretch, but bear with me. More