Health News Review

Catching up on this gem from two weeks ago:  the New York Times analysis, “Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?” Excerpt:

“American hospitals are looking less and less like their more utilitarian counterparts in Europe, where the average hospital charges per day are often less than a quarter of those in the United States, according to the International Federation of Health Plans.

The Henry Ford health system in Michigan caused a stir after it hired a hotel industry executive, Gerard van Grinsven of the Ritz-Carlton Group, in 2006 to run its new hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield. He had opened 20 hotels and his “focus on people and service excellence” has helped the hospital thrive in a competitive market, said Nancy M. Schlichting, Henry Ford’s chief executive, who decided to hire him. The idea was to take care of patients’ needs, she said, clinical and otherwise.

While no one is getting nostalgic for traditional hospital food, open wards or revealing gowns, some worry that hospitals are going too far with the creature comforts. They are particularly concerned since most hospitals are nonprofit, so construction — directly or indirectly — is subsidized with public money.”

The piece cleverly presents a quiz of 12 photos and you choose whether you think it’s a photo from a hospital or a hotel.

Reader comments are worth perusing.  Here are a couple of examples:

  • “My Italian husband just died a week ago.He spent 6 weeks in 2 different hospitals in Florence,Italy .Both hospitals were spartan but there were many caregivers,nurses and doctors available in both.In July he spent 33 hours in an American hospital,the bill was $11,000.The bill for 6 weeks of care in Italy $0.00.

    Most Americans are getting screwed!”

  • “My Mother was in a hospital that looked like a hotel. Cherry cabinets in the room that hid the equipment. Fabulous art in the lobbies. She died from mismanagement during what was supposed to be a routine stay of several days. So what good did all the bling do? They should have been spending the money on care.”

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