Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go South, young man?

When he worked here, the current CEO of the Caritas Christi system would often look wistfully to the south and ask us to consider taking over the troubled Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket. We put the kibosh on that idea faster that you can say, "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."

Now, according to this Boston Globe story by Rob Weisman, he is pursuing the same plan. I think it's time for the SEIU to investigate this. After all, they are keen on increasing state aid to a financially troubled Massachusetts hospital in the Caritas system. They can't also be in favor of transferring those state funds and charitable assets to support a financially troubled system in another state.

What's the real play here? Perhaps it is the hope that cardiac surgery cases from Landmark would be referred to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, a Caritas subsidiary. How that would help Rhode Islanders is an interesting question. Would the Boston-based doctors and hospital be paid Massachusetts-level insurance rates, which are higher than Rhode Island's? How would Blue Cross of Rhode Island feel about that? Perhaps the doctors and hospital would be paid the lower-than-Boston-market Rhode Island rates? Would Rhode Island's Lifespan system stand by idly and watch this business leave their hospitals?

This is all too hard to understand. It seems to me that if you strap two leaky lifeboats together, they sink faster. Perhaps people could be more transparent about their intentions and hopes.


Anonymous said...

Paul - Are you taking a shot at Caritas for them allowing SEIU to organize at Carney and St. Elizabeth's or are you mad about Partners and not BIDMC being selected for CeltiCare referrals? Your post has little to do with running your hospital so your angles need to be transparent as well.

Anonymous said...

Paul has hit the nail on the head. Either Caritas needs the referrals from Landmark, which means less for other RI hospitals and programs. Or, Caritas has excess income sufficient to "bail out" a failing hospital in a neighboring state. My bet is on the first option, which would be risky and unproductive, not only for RI, but also for Caritas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 3:10,

I'm not sure I understand your question. I often write about things not related to our hospital. I don't think there are an "angles" here. I have written previously about the decision of Caritas Christi to not allow their managers and supervisors to participate in debate on the unionization issue. As to the CeltiCare issue, I frankly haven't given it much attention -- although now that you raise it, it does strike me as odd that CC would limit the places that subscribers to their insurance plan could receive care, especially in the absence of any data that would suggest better quality of care in the network they have created.

But, in short, I think the best answer to your question is that the words in each blog post I write mean just what they say, no more no less.

Anonymous said...

Dear dudewhodoesn'twanttogetsued,

I received your comment, but sorry, I don't print accusations about individual like that here.

James said...

Paul -

There is a difference between reading your comments on topics alternative to medicine and reading your comments on topics which directly and indirectly can impact your bottom line. In the effort of transparency do you have more information which would help us to understand why you decided to comment on Caritas' venture w/ Landmark, or would educate us more of your concern?

Shouldn't we assume that any clinical-business venture similar to what Partners and BIDMC have entered into in other communities would basically be to improve the level of care being delivered to that community, and should be available to any organization which can bring that higher level of care to that community?

Anonymous said...

Dear James,

This is a blog. I comment on things that I think are interesting, sometimes about our place, sometimes about other places.

I'm hard pressed to think that Caritas' plans in RI have any impact on our bottom line at BIDMC. What makes this a compelling story in my view is that a troubled MA hospital system that is seeking more MA state aid would simultaneously invest in a troubled RI system. That is certainly an issue of general public interest.

Anonymous said...

What- no retort from SEIU? Didn't think so. Outmatched as usual.