The role of government and business in healthcare

Over the past several weeks the news media has been obsessed over impeachment, the coronavirus, and the Iowa Presidential Caucus. These news stories have consumed much, if not all of the air in the room, yet there have been many newsworthy developments which have been under reported.  One such development was a breakthrough in the study of the brain. Google, in partnership with the Howard Hugh Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, performed a detailed 3D scan of a brain. Scientists, using a hot knife, sliced the brain into micro-thin sections to perform the study. Researchers discovered over 4,000 [...]

By |2020-02-08T01:29:07+00:00February 8th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Peeling Back the Layers

  Peeling back the layers - The Real Cost of Healthcare   For decades the hospital industry has had free reign on pricing, marking up the cost of care to obscene levels.  All of us have seen bills where an aspirin costs $25 or an oral cleansing device (also known as a toothbrush) costs $45.  The industry has done little to hide these crazy prices.  They are also quick to point out how truly altruistic they are by offering a 20% discount off of billed charges. Having served as a hospital CFO for Columbia HCA, I was intimately familiar with [...]

By |2019-05-22T16:04:18+00:00May 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Cost of Quality Healthcare

We’ve all heard the saying, “You get what you pay for.” Usually, we use this saying when talking about the differences in quality between a cheap product and an expensive one. For example; compare an Audi vehicle to a Yugo. The Audi, an expensive luxury car, is known for quality. The Yugo’s reputation is that of a low cost, unreliable car. While this comparison applies quite well to cars, how does it work in healthcare? We analyzed the billed charges for 36 similar gallbladder removal surgeries. One patient was billed $1,591 for the procedure while another patient was billed $13,328 [...]

By |2019-05-22T16:06:10+00:00May 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Lack of Transparency in Rx Pricing

On Tuesday, January 27, 2019, the Senate Finance Committee held an important hearing on the cost of prescription drugs. A key element of the discussion focused on the rebates commonly given by drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Three PBMs control more than 70% of the pharmacy distribution within the US (link). They are Express Scripts, CVS, and OptumRx. These PBMs develop and manage the drug formularies for carriers and health plans. They are a middleman with considerable control over the pricing of prescription drugs. PBMs receive rebates from drug manufacturers, but under the current system, the discounts do [...]

By |2019-02-01T20:45:02+00:00February 1st, 2019|Pharmacy, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Healthcare Industry Consolidation and Expansion

Over the past few years, the healthcare supply chain in the United States has been undergoing intense consolidation. Hospitals networks are buying physician practices. Large physician practices are acquiring smaller practices. Even insurance companies are buying medical clinics. United Healthcare purchased DaVita Medical Group in December 2017, and, CVS is in the process of purchasing Aetna. Wal-Mart is considering purchasing Humana, and even Amazon has entered the healthcare fray by hiring several new high-powered healthcare executives and physicians to lead their healthcare revolution. All this consolidation begs the question, “What impact will this have on cost and quality in the [...]

By |2018-11-13T19:22:22+00:00November 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Serving in Our Community

A quote has been in my mind for the past several days. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” by John F. Kennedy. In the lead up to the storm, I worked with eight of my immediate neighbors to prepare ourselves for Irma. As we served each other, our neighborhood became closer. I really like the change. Almost every evening over the past week, I have been on conference calls discussing Hurricane Irma with more than 20 volunteer church leaders across Florida, such as myself. The initial purpose for these [...]

By |2018-04-20T18:40:05+00:00April 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Disrupting Chaos

The health insurance industry has been in a state of chaos for decades, but the major players in the industry are in no hurry to make any changes. Within the past 10 years: Health insurance carriers’ profits have almost doubled from $8 billion to $15 billion. Hospital revenues have grown from $760 billion to $936 billion. The norm in the current health care delivery system is for hospitals to mark up prices a 1,000%, then give the insurance carriers a 30% discount on those over inflated charges, as part of a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) [...]

By |2018-05-09T16:15:57+00:00April 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments


The healthcare industry has been undergoing consolidation for many years. The newest trend involves hospitals purchasing physician practices, taking over office administration, adding the doctor and his employees to their payroll. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like it would make much difference, but when we look deeper, the impact on costs is significant. Let’s say that a hospital wants to purchase a physician practice.  The hospital would approach the doctor, and the conversation might sound something like this: Hospital: How would you like to make more money, have more time off, and no longer deal with office administration? Doctor: [...]

By |2018-04-20T18:28:33+00:00April 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

In the Dark

  Monday, my daughter sent me this photo from the path of totality. It caused me to reflect on many things, including my business, employee benefits. Over the past decade, insurance rates have increased by double digits, year after year. Meanwhile insurance carrier’s profits have almost doubled over that same time frame. (Source) In a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sun’s light from the earth’s surface. The healthcare landscape is eclipsed by the insurance industry. Insurance carriers and government legislation pass between healthcare consumers and healthcare providers, leaving the landscape in darkness. [...]

By |2018-05-09T16:14:42+00:00April 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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