Beware The Hospital Industrial Complex

When I began receiving Medicare benefits I also opted into an HMO which revolves around a local hospital chain. They need the business (the profitable business) my potential healthcare needs will bring.

I am understanding more about the Hospital Industrial Complex. It’s huge business.

I have been to more buildings in more different places with the name “Hoag” on the door than you can imagine. Hospital groups are trying to carve out safe territories they can dominate. Hoag is doing that here.

They have bought up or affiliated with dozens of practices. They are often the landlord too. Most of my docs are in brand new and beautiful Hoag medical office parks. Hoag runs labs and imaging centers there too. One-stop shopping for medical care.

Nothing is generalized. Everything is specialized and the specialties are simultaneously turning narrower and deeper at a rapid pace.

Hoag is a non-profit. What does that even mean in 2016?

There are a lot more high earners working there than most non-profits. The last president made around $1.2 million a year. The hospital brings in more than it spends and is supported by a foundation with a nine figure endowment.

I have a greater understanding why universal healthcare scares Republicans. The care I’m getting is expensive. Nothing is reused. Nothing is cheap. It’s very labor intensive. The government is mainly covering my tab.

Other countries have found ways to provide these services much cheaper and with better results overall. Maybe healthcare should be run by the government? Maybe the profit motive needs to be removed from healthcare entirely? Drugs, I’m talking to you too.

In the meantime I’m getting more and better attention than expected — though what does one expect? No one considers they might get cancer or any other peril. I’m glad I’m not forced to get less care.

6 Responses to “Beware The Hospital Industrial Complex”

  1. Mary McH says:

    You would see the same thing happening here with Yale-NH which now owns St. Raphaels, Bridgeport Hospital, and Greenwich Hospital (and maybe more). They also bought up many practices. Both my doctors and my husband’s doctors (completely different practice) are now part of/owned by Y-NH. On the one hand, all my “stuff” is in one place and accessible online. On the other, it is a little, no a lot, scary. 😐

  2. Mufi says:

    You are fortunate to be in a good place with good care, Geoff.
    Not all HMO groups rate as well in terms of quality of care.
    As for other countries doing things cheaper, yes. That is true.
    With better results overall? That is very much debatable.
    My world revolves around Inflammatory Bowel Disease, specifically Crohn’s
    Disease and the Healthcare Industrial Complex. I talk with people globally.
    IBD folks are well aware of how universal healthcare in the UK has failed IBD
    patients resulting in deaths that could have been avoided. Adults, teens, children. That is just one country example.
    We know the reality of IBD so bad care, mistreatment and negligence is obvious to us. Which is why conservatives like me fight for real freedom of choice in care (I am no Republican as I now view both parties as talking a lot but failing the people in action.) I do not ever want to be in a position where my son is forced by insurance to stay in a local hospital should he need GI surgery when 25 miles away in Boston the top hospitals exist. Where our GI specialist is. Healthcare is getting expensive because no one in D.C. has truly regulated costs as happens in other countries with universal health care. The alarm in the news about the 400% increase in price for epi pens and the back story on that is very telling.

  3. Roberta Giirdano says:

    Same is happening here in Ct. My dr sold is practice to Pro health. His office manager said he really looked into everything before deciding. Danbury hospital wanted to buy but he didn’t want hospital because then his patients wouldn’t have a choice when it came to blood work or MRI etc they would automatically be sent to Danbury. So far I don’t see any big difference the one pro I love about is that I sign up with them so now I get emails whenever Phil has appointment and I can see results by logging into the app they have. I also can send email to dr through app , recently I did and had an answer later that day. Same with my Pain management dr he just sold his to a different group. I am told doctors are doing this because gives them more time for themselves and family , because not has much paperwork to do after hours And also because insurance has skyrocketed so much and they don’t have to worry about that anymore. I guess time will tell if it’s a good thing or not.

  4. Pat in CT says:

    Geoff (and readers of your blog) just be careful about “Medicare Managed Care” versus “Medicare Fee for Service” I was a home care RN, and working with the MMC was a nightmare because they insisted on approving every little thing. This resulted in delays of care for the patient and limits on the care they did receive, compared to traditional Medicare patients. In traditional (FFS) Medicare, they pay the home care agency a flat fee, and if you provide care for less, you make a profit; if it costs more, oh well — but it’s the agency’s problem, not the patient’s. The patient will not know the difference.

    The problem is that when people sign up, the differences are not explained — most people who go for the MMC do so because they eliminate co-pays and that’s the big sales pitch. But, MMC is run by insurance companies whose profits off MMC increase every year. (If not, they would dump it). Before you sign up for one or the other, be sure to understand how your care will be managed (rationed) under MMC. I don’t know a single health care provider who would ever choose MMC. Your mileage may vary, but don’t be distracted by the bright shiny object of “no co-pay!” and miss the fine print.

    Geoff — did you ever think a diagnosis of cancer could SAVE your life by identifying your LAD heart lesions? (BTW, they call them “the widow maker” to get men to sit up and pay attention) God works in mysterious ways.

  5. Barb B says:

    I agree with Pat. I too was a home care nurse for a small town agency. The Managed Care Insurances often would not allow us in to patients, or if they did, it was for a very brief time. With Regular Medicare we could stay the allowed 9 weeks and even recertify for additional time if needed. I have warned my family and friends about these choices. Some don’t have a choice, but I did, as did my sister. About Universal Health Care of other countries—if it is so great, why do so many people come to the USA to get their major surgeries done? One man from Canada (Native American) worked in the states but retired north of the border with his tribe. He came back into the states to have his by pass surgery after losing a relative in Canada who died while on the waiting list for the surgery. We also watched a former exchange student from Denmark as MS took over his body. He did not meet the criteria at the start of his disease for the newer medication and was told that even if/when his disease progressed, he could not be retested. He passed last year after more than ten grueling years. Be it as it is, I will stay with my USA medicare. And yes—both of our hospitals in Waterbury are now under separate, but large corporation Health Systems out of Texas and ? Tennessee. Griffin in Derby, I think may be part of Yale, but is basically running independent.

  6. John Car says:

    Be careful what you wish for. I was diagnosed with a hernya one week ago. I still do not know when I’ll be operated on, I was just told they’ll call me. Nobody knows when. I am lucky, my condition is not serious. But it can become so at any time.

    That’s in Greece where healthcare is managed by the government (uunless you have a private health insurance). There are cancer payments who can’t have their chemo, because the government is spending money hiring useless public employees, who will vote for them in the next elections. Pathetic, believe me.

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