Doctor-owned hospitals

Last week, Dr. Bruce Wilson wrote a one-sided op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, which lamented that the cardiac hospital he worked in –which he said provided better quality and service than the general hospital–was put out of business by unfair competition and regulations. Dr. Wilson just wants to make money like any other entrepreneur.

Dr. Wilson was commenting on a complicated issue, one that’s not black and white. (Health Affairs has 5 articles exploring the topic from various perspectives this month.) I’ve been awaiting the response.

The three letters to the editor that the Journal printed today were pretty tame. One is from a physician who agrees with Dr. Wilson, another from the Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine (a former Managing Director for the Ayn Rand Institute) who would take things even farther, and one by a doctor who runs The Heart Center at Akron Children’s Hospital. He is the only one who writes something sensible:

The problem with Dr. Wilson’s notion of “experts” (doctors) having “ownership of their own companies” (hospitals) is that our profession has a poor track record of subordinating financial interest relative to the interests and needs of patients.

January 12, 2006

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