The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) eliminated “lifetime” certification to shore up their financial outlook; a modification having little to do with quality and much to do with rate of return. Between 2003 and 2013, the ABMS member boards’ assets ballooned from $237 million to a staggering $635 million, an annual growth rate of 10.4%. MOC is outrageously lucrative. Almost 88% of their revenue came from certification fees.
The idea of micro-hospitals is gaining traction because costs of construction are far lower than that of more traditional hospital facilities –costing anywhere between $7-$30 million, depending on the range of services available, according to Advisory Board statistics. Micro-hospitals can meet 90% of the community healthcare needs. They seem to flourish best in markets with critical service gaps. Ideally, micro-hospitals are located within 20 miles of a full-service hospital, facilitating the transfer of patients to larger facilities if higher-acuity needs arise. Hospital stays anticipated to be longer than 48 hours are sent to higher-acuity facilities.
Since the birth of our nation, labor unions have existed in one form or another in the United States. Unions are a force to protect the ‘working population’ from inequality, gaps in wages, and a political system failing to represent specific industry groups. The existence of unions has already been woven into the political, economic, and cultural fabric of America; it may be time for physicians and surgeons to unionize.
There is a grassroots movement, 4500 strong, known as “Save Our Hospital” gaining notoriety in Albert Lea, Minnesota. This story is symptomatic of the fact that hospital consolidation has slowly become a national pastime. With declining revenue under the Affordable Care Act, mergers increased by 70%, leaving small communities scrambling for healthcare access. The latest casualty in the ‘hospital-consolidation-for-sport’ trend is Albert Lea, a small city located in Freeborn County, Minnesota.
In June 2016, Kitsap County emergency personnel participated in Cascadia Rising, a large-scale earthquake drill. At the time, three local hospitals planned to coordinate management of injured casualties: Navy Hospital, which would treat the “walking wounded” (least injured), or Harrison Silverdale and Harrison Bremerton, which would clear their emergency departments to receive the flood of injured patients. While those plans have changed, the grave risk to our community in the event of an earthquake should not be ignored.