Fox Report on Hospital Video Lacks Context, Official Says
Fox Business report claims Morristown Medical Center's 'Building an ACO' YouTube video mocks patient care access.
A top Morristown Medical Center official criticized a Fox Business report that accused the hospital and Atlantic Health, its parent organization, of mocking patient care access in an amateur video produced to internally encourage doctors to join Accountable Care Organizations--part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.
The Jan. 30 report, by Fox Business reporter Elizabeth MacDonald, claims the video makes fun of health care access, telling its audience they can make more money for doctors and hospitals by preventing patients from being readmitted to hospitals.
Doctors are shown blocking the door of a hospital, "to stop patients from being readmitted for more care, dollar bills exchanging hands between doctors and staffers, as well as workers getting free stuff like laptops," according to the report.
Dr. David Shulkin, president of Morristown Medical Center and an administrator of the Atlantic ACO, is seen in one quick shot sleeping on a couch below a framed portrait that reads "CMS Dreams," for "Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services."
In a prepared statement, Shulkin calls the Fox Business report disappointing and says it was taken out of context.
"The Atlantic Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and Morristown Medical Center are committed to improving the quality of patient care and reducing health care costs," he said. "We recognize that the health care landscape is changing and are proud to be active leaders at the forefront of this process. The Atlantic ACO is also honored to be among the first ACOs to be recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)."
Shulkin said the "Building an ACO" song and video was made last fall by hospital staff in response to a health care video contest, "as a way to engage physicians, nurses and hospital staff," he said. "Our team’s video was never intended to mock ACOs or health reform, or to infer that there is anything more serious to us than providing our patients with the best quality care. Rather, the video was a light-hearted way to highlight the key goals CMS has established for all ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Those include improving quality of care, preventing unneeded hospital stays, lowering hospital readmission rates and reducing health care costs."
Several unnamed sources were quoted in the Fox Business article, including a "staff doctor," who told the reporter, “the less number of patients re-admitted, or the less exams or tests or referrals, the more government money there is in the pot for the ACO and the more bonuses for the doctors.
"The less you do as a doctor, the more money the ACO makes," the anonymous staff doctor said in the article. "The less risky patients with complications you take on, the more money the ACO makes, because risky patients are going to cost the hospital more money to treat them. That’s why they’re exchanging money in the video. If I order less tests, I get a bonus. If I join, I get free stuff, like free laptops."
Skulkin countered the article's argument. "For patients, the ACO is providing coordinated care across doctors’ offices and hospitals, health and behavior education, and improved access to care, which is leading to better health outcomes, fewer hospital visits and fewer unnecessary tests," he said. "The Fox piece reporting on the video is disappointing as it takes the video imagery and lyrics out of context."
What do you think? Do you side with the hospital or the Fox Business article on this argument? Vote in the poll below and chime in under comments.