Nothing gets people talking (and thinking) like a contrarian or counterintuitive point of view. A good example can be seen in a post today over at the Running a Hospital blog by Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. There’s a local hospital in financial trouble that none of the Boston-area hospital groups have the money to acquire and fix. Levy suggests an alternative — that the Service Employees International Union take over the hospital as they have a strong interest in hospital management and lots of cash.
“So why not approach SEIU with a proposal to have the union purchase, own and operate Carney Hospital? Let the union show how it can handle the full panoply of issues of running a hospital and demonstrate how it can profitably operate a neighborhood facility without the kind of state aid that has been pouring into Carney for all these years. Let the union negotiate contracts with the insurance companies, encourage access for low-income patients, maintain high regulatory standards for patient care, and do all the other things required of hospital management, while, of course, providing excellent working conditions for staff members and physicians.”
An innovative idea or a friendly smack at the unions who so often complain about how hospitals are managed? Hard to say, but Paul’s post will certainly be the topic of conversations in the Boston healthcare community this weekend. And there’s nothing healthier for any industry than frank, open conversations about contrarian ideas. That’s where change so often begins.
Thanks to Howard Kain, managing principal of the healthcare group at PNC for turning me on to Running a Hospital, a great example of CEO blogging — and in a highly-regulated, conservative industry like hospital management no less!