Posts Tagged ‘Modern Healthcare’

Remembering Alter+Care Advisory Board Member, Charles S. Lauer

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Chuck Lauer, former publisher of Modern Healthcare and vice president of Crain Communications, has passed away at the age of 86. Chuck was also the head of Alter+Care’s advisory board of leading hospital executives for the last decade. He was a friend, mentor and champion for us as we built the business into one of the country’s leding healthcare developers. We will miss his warmth, inspiration and incredible insights which all of us came to rely on.

Chuck had a storied career in the publishing industry, and was the recipient of numerous industry awards including the Diversity Champion Award, the Michael E. DeBakey Award for Achievements in Healthcare, and a lifetime fellowship from the American College of Medical Administrators. He also served in the U.S. Army as a corporal during the Korean War.

Chuck’s publishing career started at Time with Life Magazine. From there he moved on to two McGraw-Hill publications where he worked as a sales manager, and later as a sales manager for the American Medical Association publications. He was also a part of the executive management team at Petersen Publishing and Family Media. Chuck became a publisher at Modern Healthcare in 1976, and a vice president of Crain Communications in 1981.

Chuck was known for his generous, upbeat nature, and was a friend and mentor to many throughout the course of his career. He spoke at many conferences and symposiums during his life and remained heavily invested in the healthcare and publishing industries. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Rob and Lisa Werner: Healthcare in a War Zone

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

In the latest episode of the Chuck Lauer Show, presented by Alter+Care, the former publisher of Modern Healthcare discusses providing healthcare in a war zone with Rob and Lisa Werner, who spent nearly four years living in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2009 and working in healthcare.

At first, the Werners settled in Mazar i Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth largest city, where Rob worked in tuberculosis control.  In that capacity he worked with community-based programs applying government initiatives to cure patients.  After 1 ½ years, Rob was offered a job as advisor to the manager of a women’s hospital in Kabul to oversee a grant that funded the creation of vital new programs.

Afghanistan has one of the world’s highest child and mother mortality rates, underscoring a need for improved maternal care.  At that dime one in six women would die due to complications of childbirth.  Only 13 percent of babies were delivered in hospitals or with any sort or trained medical personnel, such as midwives.  During her time in Afghanistan Lisa didn’t meet one woman who had not lost a child in her family.  One in four children would die before the age of five.  The medical priorities seem very basic to Americans familiar with modern healthcare delivery.  According to Rob, “Before we set up an oncology center, we said, we should do something about all the kids dying of diarrhea.”

Medical education is not entirely absent from Afghanistan.  For example, there is the Kabul Medical University and a few smaller schools elsewhere in the country.  The level of education they provide varies widely.  Many aspiring physicians study in Pakistan because the facilities there are better, and there are more medical resources.  Afghani nurses tend to function as patient attendants and have minimal exposure to such disciplines as pharmacology.

Although Afghanistan has been at war for decades – with the Russians in the 1980s, various warlords in the 1990s and the Taliban through 2001 – the Werners may one day return.  Their three young children are in favor of it.  In Kabul, the Werners lived in an Afghan neighborhood where most people were going about their business and daily lives.  According to Rob, “Once we got over there and got to know people we found that they are just like us – they want to raise their kids, send them to school, see them get a good education and job, marry and have kids of their own.  The majority just want to live a peaceful life.”

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

The Beryl Companies and The Beryl Institute: Beyond the Bedside Manner

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

In the second episode of the Chuck Lauer Show, presented by Alter+Care, the former publisher of Modern Healthcare discusses enhancing patient outcomes with Paul Spiegelman, Founder and CEO of The Beryl Companies, and Dr. Jason Wolf, Executive Director, of The Beryl Institute.  The Beryl Institute is the home for professionals committed to improving the patient experience and developing high performance healthcare organizations.

According to Spiegelman, he began the business with his brothers in 1986 as a bootstrap 24/7 operation whose goal was – and remains — to improve the patient experience.  Spiegelman provided outsourced call-center services to hospitals across the country to match potential patients with healthcare providers.  Although many perceive call centers as a low-morale, high-attrition, low-margins, boiler room commodity operation, Spiegelman was determined to operate his business differently.  Today, Beryl is the nation’s largest company in its niche and is five to six times more profitable than its competition.  Additionally, employee attrition is a fraction of a typical call-center environment.  Thanks to its circle of growth, Beryl has won nine awards for being one of the best places to work in America.

Spiegelman applies that attitude to their work with hospitals and other healthcare providers to assure a better patient experience and enhanced outcomes.  Their philosophy is that hospital employees who are treated with respect are more productive and minister to patients more effectively.  According to Spiegelman, “The question is, how do customers understand this and give you credit for that?  Do they understand the connection between culture and driving better service for them?”

Wolf suggests that one priority is to adopt a simple but specific definition of the patient experience as the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care (The Beryl Institute).  The focus is well beyond the clinical setting to the entire continuum of care.  This encompasses how physicians act towards the patient and how effectively nurses communicate.  A recent benchmarking study from The Beryl Institute has shown that patient experience and safety are top priorities for healthcare leaders, yet only one-third of all healthcare organizations in the U.S. currently define what a patients’ experience should be, one reason why it was important for The Beryl Institute to fashion its own unique definition.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

Mayo Clinic’s Financial Health Is Excellent

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Mayo Clinic reports its best operating margin in five years.The Mayo Clinic ended 2009 with it best operating margin in five years after breaking even in 2008. With expenses virtually flat, the Rochester, MN-based healthcare system reported that its operating income totaled $333.2 million for the year ending December 31, 2009.

Mayo Clinic, which recovered nearly all of its assets lost during the recession as its investments rebounded and its pension and retiree benefits limited its liability by $1 billion, according to CFO Jeff Bolton.  Capital spending, which was cut during the recession, will slowly return to historic levels.  Bolton said that Mayo spent $361 million on capital projects in 2009 compared with $500 million to $700 annually in normal years.

“This past year, we had the opportunity to demonstrate that we can thrive in a difficult economic environment because we have one focus — keeping the needs of the patient first,” said John Noseworthy, M.D., the Mayo Clinic’s president and CEO.  “Our strong operational performance in 2009 is due to the significant effort and innovation of our staff.”

Charles S. Lauer: Defining Leadership in Healthcare

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

lauertrilogylarge1The healthcare industry has lost its soul, and must return to its roots of healing people.  This is the opinion of Charles S. Lauer, the retired publisher of Modern Healthcare magazine, best-selling author, and an acclaimed lecturer on leadership and success in the healthcare industry.

In a recent interview for the Alter+Care Podcasts on Healthcare (hyperlink here), Lauer states that healthcare has become a business.  As a result, hospital CEOs must have great financial acumen, but a focus on healthcare financial metrics can take a leader away from the core mission of healthcare.

When asked to identify an individual who demonstrates real leadership in healthcare, Lauer cites Dr. Edward Eckenhoff, who is the founder, President and CEO of the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.  A paraplegic since a college auto accident, Eckenhoff is working to teach seriously injured war veterans how to walk again.