Reviews and Short Takes

Periodically we will write book reviews of books and/or articles I think are worth reading.  I welcome your recommendations as well.

BOOK REVIEW Unaccountable:  What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care by Marty Makary, MD Right now, run, do not walk,  to your book store or kindle, iPad or whatever and order and read this book. Dr. Makary traces his professional career to pinpoint some fundamental and profoundly troubling flaws of our health care system.   This from the summary of his book:

“Dangerous Care

  • Medical mistakes are the 5th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • The number of patients killed by preventable medical errors every year is equivalent to four jumbo jets crashing every week. (emphasis mine).

Lack of Transparency 

  • Some of America’s most prestigious medical centers have worse patient outcomes than community hospitals, but this information is not available to the public.
  • Many patients who are candidates for minimally invasive surgery are never told of their options and instead have more extensive surgery, requiring longer recovery and runnning a much higher risk of infection.
  • Increasingly, the forms you fill out in a doctor’s waiting room include a gag order so that you can never speak about a medical mistake is one occurs.


  • Approximately one quarter of all medications and medical procedures may not be necessary, according to a new survey of leaders in American medicine.
  • Many hospitals compensate doctors on an “eat-what-you-kill” basis:  The more procedures your perform, the higher your year end bonus.

The New Movement for Change

  • A new generation of doctors is pushing to open up medicine to make hospital outcomes available to the public and to make bedside care more honest….”

************* We can’t just leave these issues to the doctors, we all need to hold the health system accountable.  Please read this book now!  Kathleen

SHORT TAKES Measure M, SEIU and Hospital CEO Compensation A minor ballot initiative in California has some potentially interesting ramifications for hospital CEO’s.   An initiative had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in Silicon Valley, California to limit hospital CEO compensation to no more than two times the Governor’s salary.  The Governor earns $173,987 per year.  The CEO at El Camino Hospital in Silicon Valley earns $695,000 a year. The measure came on the ballot as an SEIU tactic in labor negotiations with the hospital.  When labor negotiations were settled, the SEIU did not lobby for the measure, but it remained on the ballot.   And it passed by a small margin:  51% to 49% The ballot initiative was possible because El Camino is a Public Health District Hospital funded in part by local tax dollars.  Not all hospitals are public district hospitals.  Valley Medical Center and Evergreen Hospital are. Swedish and Virginia Mason, for example are not.

Comments are closed.