In Defense of a Healthcare Slasher

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , February 19, 2010

"What we've done here is we've implemented five years of change in 20 months. Someone said if Custer had a cliff behind him he might've had a chance," he says, alluding somewhat hyperbolically to the life-or-death struggle he sees facing Grady. "And we had a cliff behind us."

Meanwhile, he's also cut back on some programs that have vocal support, most notably a dialysis program in which many of its users claim they have nowhere else to go to get care.

Sometimes, tough choices need to be made—especially when caretakers have done nothing with an institution other than paper over serious long-term viability issues. Grady isn't being paid to be all things to all people. Would those who are making so much noise about Grady's cuts be happy to use up the system within a few years, forcing the hospital to close?

And don't say it couldn't happen. The fact is it's happened in dozens of cities as large as Atlanta. And New York is on the ledge with St. Vincent which, while not a public institution, it still has all the problems and serves the patients no one else wants. A failure of Grady as an institution would affect many more people than the few dozen who can't afford dialysis treatment.

So let Michael Young work.

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Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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