Victor Trastek, MD, CEO of Mayo Clinic Arizona, made a distinguished contribution to it when he spoke to the Harvard Business School Club in Phoenix today.
Of course he was speaking to educated people, but it was heartening to hear him say that everyone in the health care equation is going to have to do his/her part to make the new legislation a success, especially physicians, who will have to step up and learn how to collaborate around scarce resources to produce greater value, and patients, who will have to think about behavioral changes. Although some of the guests asked tough (politicized) questions, he refused to diss the new legislation, despite his admission that there's a 20 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians still "hanging out there" while Congress is on recess and that "rationing is what happens if we fail to get everything else right."
It was all the more heartening because Mayo Clinic is a leading national health care institution, known for its high quality and ability to treat difficult cases. It is also a leading employer in Arizona. It contributes $1.45 billion to the Arizona economy, and its facility has 425 physicians and a staff of 4400, dedicated to the three connected areas of medical practice, patient and medical education, and research.
But Arizona, it turns out, makes up only about 10 percent of Mayo's revenues. Mayo Clinic the the largest nonprofit health care system in the country, with a multi-specialty integrated model of care for mostly sicker people. Although it does some primary care, most of its physicians are specialists. And its Arizona CEO is a former thoracic surgeon, not a business guy.
Dr. Trastek said the new legislation tries to answer the question that's troubling everybody: "How do we give good affordable health care?"
The Huntington Post, by Francine Hardaway, April 9, 2010