Philosophy Psychology The Business of Healthcare Value

Value and the Price of Not Providing It

July 8, 2014

As I’ve written before, all across corporate America companies are laying off full-time employees and either replacing them with part-time workers or outsourcing their labor needs to staffing companies. In essence, they are creating a class of “perma-temps” with decreasing job security.

But of course, in healthcare, physicians are rushing to hospital employment and to jobs with large medical groups. Go figure.

The public school system in this country wasn’t founded to broadly educate, its purpose was to socialize children, making them good citizens and, even more so, good employees who knew how to show up on time, to do what they were told, and to come back the next day. In return, there was the “promise” of lifetime employment or, at least employment until “retirement” which was not something that was designed for one’s “golden years;” rather, it was retirement as in replacement, replacement just like an old machine.

But today, employers reward for the value you create. The factory worker, whether in what is readily recognized as a factory or one which looks, to outsiders, like a medical clinic or hospital, who simply shows up on time, does what he or she is told (you know, follows protocols) and then clocks out at the end of the shift, creates no real value in comparison with the next worker.

As a result, his or her employer will always be seeking someone who will do that job for less.

Today, there’s no longer even the “promise” of lifetime employment. “Retirement” as in replacement, replacement just like an old machine, is as far off as the next layoff or the next outsourcing.

It’s creativity and leadership and true value creation, value being measured not by the person delivering it but by the person receiving it, that separates one from the worker bees. Maybe not in the eyes of your current employer – but so what, you’re not chained down. You’ve only been told that you are. Perhaps told so by yourself.

The same dynamic plays out at the medical group level as well. Groups that don’t create new value for the parties with whom they contract or interact, from the value that a radiology group provides to a hospital pursuant to an exclusive contract, to the value in a relationship between a surgeon and a referring internist, are angling for replacement.

You’re not damaged. You’re not victims. Unless you want to be. But that’s another story.

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