Friday, November 16, 2007

Show me the Money

Everyone who is alert and active in the USA today knows well the trials and travails of folks who need to buy health insurance. For the past decade the cost sky rocketed. However, the professionals and institutions who deliver health care are getting less per patient than they were ten years ago. Managed Care is Managing us right out of care.

Prices up to individuals and business owners and those who deliver the service get much less. Who is prospering in this scenario?

Not long ago the media reported that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Greater Cincinnati had, without cause, cut reimbursements for mental health by over 20%. In addition, the doctors and therapists have no recourse but to accept it. Each Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Counselor with their umbrella organizations have to eat the reduction keep their mouths shut.

Here is a story in the The Chronicle of Philanthropy on Friday, November 16 that reveals where these cuts go

William C. Van Faasen, the former chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, retired from the company in January 2006 and was paid $16.4-million in retirement benefits, reports The Boston Globe.

Since Blue Cross’s 2006 executive pay was disclosed yesterday in filings to the attorney general, several groups have expressed outrage at a compensation package of that size being awarded at a nonprofit organization.

Jerry Flanagan, health care-policy director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer group in Los Angeles, said that this type of excessive compensation harms the public by driving up costs. He explained, “Double-digit premium increases that are fueled by insurance-company excesses like this are uninsuring the insured.”

Chris Murphy, a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said Mr. Van Faasen’s retirement contributions are an accurate reflection of his lengthy tenure and his “extraordinary performance as chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.”

Mr. Murphy added that the retirement package was evaluated by external compensation consultants, who assured the company that the payments “met industry standards.”

My comments: How true that these kinds of extravagant salaries are common among Managed Care Officers. All of them, not just Anthem, are ripping us off. And, it is being done by tax-free organizations.

What manager of a philanthropy needs or deserves such an outlandish amount of money? The IRS is looking into Preachers who abuse their tax free status. Now maybe the IRS will look into insurance companies that abuse their special status.

I have worked in the non-profit sector most of my adult life and have never received an exorbitant salary and I do not know anyone who has. Most ministers and others in the helping professions suffer from being under appreciated and under paid.

This is highway robbery. We are the victims.

1 comment:

paula clare said...

Hi Gary,
Wow, am I feeling the "pain" of Managed Care and their biases...especially in the mental health field. I am a Licensed Counselor, and will soon be a CLINICAL licensed counselor...but managed care prefers providers to have a SOCIAL WORK degree. The MSW is the "cadillac" in today's HMO. It is not my wish to "slam" the social workers, but I believe that Managed care should at least ACKNOWLEDGE that clinical counselors are viable, healthcare providers. We are not trained to work within SYSTEMS (and that is the very reason I did NOT want to be a social worker...the SYSTEM is broken in my humble opinion) My heart, my calling is to work with PEOPLE, not SYSTEMS...thus my clinical training.

Under appreciated and under common...and how sad!