Well, few of the health care executives attending the CEO Forum in Raleigh last week needed to ask WakeMed CEO Donald Gintzig to “tell us what you really think.” In remarks to the group, Gintzig, a former Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, chided the industry for corporate greed. He noted it’s a $3 trillion industry and suggested that the tremendous increase in health care costs is in part due to a corporate culture in health care.
Gintzig was asked, not surprisingly, about his hospital’s charges, and he noted, rightly, that those individuals with insurance who are able to pay help fund the many millions in free care WakeMed delivers to the indigent, as it has since its beginning.
The rear admiral had pretty straightforward words that seemed a shot at the profit motive driving health care: “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and never had anyone come to me and say, ‘Y’know, I’d love to build a hospital to care for poor people, but the certificate of need just won’t let me.” In other words, the industry’s structured in terms of regulatory approval of new facilities toward more profitable enterprises — there’s no line forming to care for the poor.
Health care industry executives know Gintzig was speaking the truth.
This is an industry in need of a strong, critical overview led by people like Gintzig and Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO Brad Wilson who are unafraid to face the realities of the future, and to try to shape it.