The tides of healthcare ebb and flow like the width of men’s ties and the political affiliation of Michael Bloomberg.
Seemingly set with a huge population of baby boomers needing their wares to remain healthy or, metaphorically speaking, to “come in for a soft landing,” and spurred on by politicians who thought they were anointed to nudge us, hospital systems grew rapaciously.
But now the tide’s going out.
A bit more than a week ago, the Mayo Clinic Health System announced that it was shuttering a hospital and two related clinics located in Springfield and Lamberton, Minnesota.
Among the multiple factors that Mayo cited for the shutdown were the growth in other healthcare options and their inability to recruit physicians.
Seemingly, though, a dose of mismanagement and staff model thinking contributed to the mess: The hospital used its staff of emergency department providers to care for hospitalized patients. Apparently it took them too long to realize that emergency medicine physicians aren’t internists or hospitalists.
According to a press release, James Hebl, M.D., Mayo’s regional vice president, said that “the skills required for each can be vastly different.” (You can’t make this stuff up.)
The story is another breadcrumb on the trail of the Impending Death of Hospitals. For physicians, it leads to the conclusion that:
1. There is no longer safety in hospital employment.
2. That contracted medical groups, especially hospital-based groups such as anesthesiologists and radiologists, can’t be dependent upon any single hospital or single hospital system relationship.
3. That there is huge opportunity in alternatives to hospitals, such as ASCs and MOCs™, physician-owned Massive Outpatient Clinics™.