Political Landscape May Change But Systemic Problems Remain

John Marcille

Political parties gain and lose power, but one chronic reality remains: Nobody has yet figured out what to do about ever-increasing health care costs. This may be a theoretical conundrum for some, but clinical executives are expected to come up with answers, or at least approaches.

Our cover story focuses on how employers want medical directors to find the highest performing physicians. This is an unenviable task. No matter what you do, you know that physician groups are going to cry “Foul!” over the methodology, while some workers will again complain about restrictive managed care. Haven’t we seen this movie? Voices rise to protest limiting access whenever it is tried, and the state of the economy doesn’t seem to reduce the anger.

This time, however, the outrage can be met by answers. Electronic measuring software, federal incentives, and a hard-wrought system for finding the prized doctors are just some of the tools that medical directors can work with this time.

Farewell to a valued colleague

For many years, Martin Sipkoff, a freelance writer in Gettysburg, Pa., contributed feature articles and columns to MANAGED CARE. Martin wrote primarily on matters of interest to clinical executives (this URL will take you to links to 100 of his pieces: http://bit.ly/dhM08P), always on the alert for trends, useful or dangerous, that would affect the reader. He and the English language got along very well; when I edited Martin’s articles, I could always concentrate on the ideas, rather than the mechanics. He started out as a freelance writer, and soon became my friend as well. Martin died last month after a long battle with esophageal cancer. We will miss him here and, dear reader, although you will not be aware of it, you will miss him, too.

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