Where have all the hospitals gone?

Where have all the hospitals gone?

The hospital as a foundation has a long history in America, dating back to before the Revolutionary War and the framing of the Constitution. The Philadelphia Hospital, founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, was the first hospital in America. The mission was to care for the sick, the poor, and the insane who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia. In 1751, Philadelphia was the fastest growing of the four largest cities in America at that time – including New York, Boston, and Charleston, S.C.

The inscription on the seal of the Philadelphia Hospital – “Take care of him and I will repay thee” – portrays an image of the “Good Samaritan.” Over the centuries as America framed its constitution and evolved from 13 states to now 50 states with over 300 million people, the hospital has fulfilled a vital role of caring for others as a “Good Samaritan.”

But today, the hospital has been forced to become a business. During these unfathomed socioeconomic times, there is an incoming tide of rising unrest among the public. This unrest can be found in the hearts of many who are questioning costs, questioning care, and questioning safety.

Many Americans fail to realize that the hospital is a mirror of our society. As a mirror, it reflects that our society is placing troubling demands on the very foundation of the hospital and the foundation of our nation – both which were forged over two centuries ago.

Today, while the hospital is still caring for the sick, the poor, and the insane – just as the first hospital was founded to do over 260 years ago – it must now balance the business model in order to survive. Along with caring for millions of patients whose lifestyle issues include substance abuse and addiction, aggressive and destructive behaviors, and mental disorders, hospitals are being forced to go beyond the “Good Samaritan” and to become our “brothers’ keeper.” They do this by taking on population health along with the federal mandate of Community Health Needs Assessment and a plan to address these needs.

Today, even with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have no insurance, and millions have insurance with large co-pays. These dominant psychosocial-economic factors have severe long-term negative financial impact on hospitals across America.

The fundamental question is, “Who will repay thee?” With or without a business model mandate to address the so-called economies of scale, hospitals will over time fade away. Then the fundamental question will be, “What has become of our hospitals?” – the very foundation of our nation centuries ago.

Sincerely,

Ed Piper, Ph.D.

Former President & Chief Executive Officer, 2000-2016

 

10.26.18
Autumn: a season of excitement and giving thanks
06.22.18
Vacations are good for you. Really.
03.28.18
Health, healing, hope and heart ... the many "H's" in our Hospital
03.14.18
Flu crisis brings out your passion for service
01.30.18
Welcoming the New Year
12.22.17
Your Spirit of Giving shines every day
12.1.17
What are you thankful for?
10.26.17
The Consciousness of Leadership
10.1.17
Safety and Change Management
09.4.17
Provider Engagement and the Future
07.28.17
Accountability as a path to engagement
06.28.17
Personal and professional accountability
05.31.17
Keys to awareness and perceptions
05.3.17
Thank You, High Performers
03.29.17
Communicate your passion to our patients
02.23.17
The OMH Family
01.25.17
New Year's Blessings
12.20.16
We are all ambassadors
12.6.16
Our staff as a strategic resource
09.16.16
Partners in care
08.9.16
A whole new world
07.6.16
Diversity in the healthcare setting
02.3.16
A Call for Clinical Integration
12.2.15
Where we go next
10.27.15
The rising tide of ethical conflict
09.29.15
Our albatross: 30-day readmission rate
05.21.15
A Safe Culture, A Calling from the Heart
02.23.15
Minister to suffering
01.15.15
Greeting the rising sun of the bold new year
12.15.14
Population Health - Coordination of Care
12.15.14
Awaiting a New Dawn
08.4.14
Facing what lies before us
07.7.14
Crossing the Rubicon
06.4.14
Where have all the hospitals gone?
05.6.14
A promise to keep
04.7.14
Spring of hope
11.14.13
The uncharted waters ahead: navigating the ACA
08.8.13
Fiscal year 2014 will be a tough one
07.5.13
Facing the dawn of a new era
02.13.13
The year 2012
01.6.13
The Patient Experience
10.1.12
The incoming tide
09.6.12
The new frontier - a clarion call to act
08.25.12
Building trust during difficult times
08.20.12
Letter from the 2012 Annual Report