HealthLeaders Media Corner Office - October 23, 2009 | Alegent CEO's Resignation Illustrates Difficulty of Culture Change View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Alegent CEO's Resignation Illustrates Difficulty of Culture Change
Philip Betbeze, Senior Editor-Leadership

As I was preparing to lead the culture panel at HealthLeaders '09 last Friday in Chicago, I heard about the resignation of Wayne Sensor as CEO at Alegent Health in Omaha. Sensor has always been a pioneer—from the drive to make healthcare prices transparent to the consumer to building a staff of employed physicians at the health system. Heck, three of the system's hospitals were recently named among the 100 "best value" hospitals. So what gives?
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  October 23, 2009

Editor's Picks
What do CEOs think?
The 2010 edition of the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey for CEOs is now open online at Included this year are new questions that seek your thoughts on the economy, the HIT stimulus package, and healthcare reform efforts, among others. Plus, we build on key benchmark questions from last year, checking on your top priorities and your assessment of key healthcare trends. This comprehensive survey should take about 14 minutes to complete. Be sure to provide contact information and we'll enter your name in a drawing for a $1,000 gift card. [Take the Survey Now]
Health Reform Brings Hope Coupled with Pessimism
My colleague Les Masterson has a sobering view of what the current healthcare reform effort can be expected to achieve, an attitude with which you're familiar if you've been reading my usual criticism of the behavior of our elected officials in Congress. The point of his article, which quotes Stuart Altman, professor of national health policy at Brandeis University's Heller Graduate School for Social Policy and Management, and Jim Mongan, MD, CEO of Partners HealthCare in Boston, is that outside of rhetoric, little will actually come of efforts to control healthcare costs, because in truth, controlling costs will alienate the powerful interest groups that help get members of Congress elected—or defeated. [Read More]
From HealthLeaders Media '09: Leadership During Disruptive Times
My colleague Elyas Bakhtiari helped cover our annual conference last week and came up with this interesting piece about healthcare finances and the uncertain future of reform. Healthcare has grown up around misaligned incentives, and Congress has so far missed an opportunity to tackle payment reform, panelists said. Former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charles Baker offered as an example the gap between primary care physicians and some specialists. An hour with a primary care doctor reimburses about $250, but orthopedic surgeons get about $4,000 and cardiologists $5,000 for the same amount of time, he said. Although healthcare reform legislation includes bonuses and payment increases for primary care, none of the bills address the fundamental flaws of the reimbursement system. [Read More]
Mortality, Quality Gulfs Persist in Hospitals
If you get sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, you'd better do your research. That's the advice I took from my colleague John Commins' story about a new Healthgrades study that shows that patients at highly-rated hospitals have a 52% lower chance of dying compared with the U.S. hospital average, a quality gulf that has persisted for the past 10 years, even as mortality rates have declined. [Read More]
The Future of Nursing is Up for Debate
It's not very often that one gets a chance to contribute to a nationwide public debate that just might result in changes to one's profession, says my colleague Rebecca Hendren. But that's what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine, is calling for as part of a major study on the future of nursing. As well as securing the opinion of nursing experts from around the country, the study will also be examining testimony submitted from individuals and organizations in the field. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines
What are Health Plan Executives Thinking?
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, October 20, 2009
Going Global: Health Officials Trumpet Moving Away from Fee-for-Service System
Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media, October 22, 2009
Senate Turns Down Effort to Repeal Medicare Payment Formula
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, October 21, 2009
Joint Commission Gains Role in Collecting Quality Data
Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, October 21, 2009
UConn trying new approach to resolve cash-strapped health center
Hartford Courant, October 22, 2009
GE launches $250 million healthcare tech fund
Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2009
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Cedars-Sinai Over CT Radiation Overdose
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 21, 2009
Webcasts/Audio Conferences
Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Stroke Care (November 17)
RAC Strategy: Preserve Margin, Prevent Take-backs, Promote Alignment (November 10)
Flexible Medical Staff Models of the Future (October 29, 2009)
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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Care Team Architecture

HealthLeaders October 2009
Creativity and flexibility count, sure. But underlying the successful care team design is a foundation of essential and lasting values. [Read More]
Service Line Management
State of Emergency

The nation's emergency departments are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, but innovations in patient throughput and other strategies offer hope for a beleaguered system. [Read More]
View from the Top

Five Steps the C-suite Should Know About Optimizing the Hospital Supply Chain: As hospitals across the country feel pressure to cut costs and improve operational efficiencies, the role of the hospital supply chain becomes increasingly important. Hospital supply chain issues are no longer just the concern of materials management departments and service line VPs. C-suite executives are also getting heavily involved. When they do, they should first know five critical points when it comes to supply chain management. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Reform is Missing the Boat on Transparency: I spoke recently with John Bardis, CEO of MedAssets, a healthcare supply chain and revenue cycle management company, about his crusade against the lack of transparency in durable medical devices, contracts for which preclude hospitals from disclosing how much they pay for such devices. Bardis thinks this lack of transparency is the top financial challenge facing hospitals, and there's precious little in healthcare reform legislation that will shine a light on the murky way device companies keep prices artificially high. [