Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Health Consumers & Mr. Inlander v AMGA & Jacque Sokolov, MD

Excerpted from Michael Romano's article in the latest edition of Modern Healthcare :

"It’s hardly a secret that the doctors and managers who run the nation’s biggest multi-specialty group practices...firmly believe that their model of integrated delivery is the very best way to provide patients with quality health carING.

Despite the traditional belief, doctor does not always know best! Especially a doctor-turned-consultant-turned-executive-turned investor.

Last week, the Alexandria, Va.-based American Medical Group Association, the trade group for all those large medical groups, held its annual conference over four days at the luxurious Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The self-satisfied (God-like) attitude of many AMGA members took a (bit) serious and fully deserved beating from Charles Inlander, noted naysayer (read patient/health consumer advocate) and the outspoken president of the People’s Medical Society since the consumer-advocacy group was founded 24 years ago".

“... the reason you’ve (AMGA) been losing the war (health care policy) is because the focus hasn’t been on the patient. It’s been on the delivery system.”

"For some reason—token, balance, perhaps—the conference organizers invited the consumer gadfly to join a panel discussion.

Panel participants, of course, were the button-down industry veterans to Inlander’s version of a tie-dyed radical about to storm the gates and bring down the system.

After suggesting that universal healthcare is inevitable sometime in the next several years because the public will demand it, he reinforced his point about the industry’s lack of sincere concern for patients by mentioning a keynote address one day earlier by Jacque Sokolov, a physician-turned-consultant and an impressive speaker"

"But, according to Inlander, this highly regarded expert never mentioned the P-word. “Jacque never once mentioned the word ‘patient’ in a 50-minute speech..."-noted Inlander.

Dr. Jacque J. Sokolov is indeed a highly experienced and accomplished expert on most aspects of health care.

I have personally known Dr. Sokolov since early 90-s, and had the distinct privilege of associating with him on a number of projects, as well as on health care panels, forums, and on the speaker circuit.

Dr. Sokolov practically invented employer-directed managed care as Vice President and Medical Director at Southern California Edison Co—HealthFlex, and, thus became one of the co-authors of the "mangled health carING"---see this blog archive ("Mangled Healthcare" for All).

Unfortunately for then Edison employees, they were not considered to be part of the equation. Otherwise, Dr. Sokolov would have bypassed the archaic "patient-centric", and would have gone straight to the appropriate "health consumer (payors)-directed".

Fortunately for Dr. Sokolov, that position made him a national name in health care and helped launch his worldwide consulting business.

In the ensuing years, Dr. Sokolov served as top executive with Advanced Health Plans Inc. and AHP Development Corp. to "
develop, finance and implement advanced, integrated health systems." He is a savvy investor in health care.

His clients included: physician organizations, hospital systems, insurance companies, managed care plans, and vendors in 100 markets in 40 states, plus three foreign countries.

Dr. Sokolov is no stranger to pharmaceutical and medical device industries either. He serves on the Board of Directors for Hospira, Inc., the global specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company since Hospira’s spin off from Abbott Labs in May, 2004.

He also serves as a Director of MedCath Corporation. Please see this blog archive ("NEW Presciption for Pharma Marketing).

He is best remembered for presiding over the decline and, final demise of the Coastal Physician Group, Inc., after a protracted proxy battle with Dr. Steven Scott, founder of Coastal Physician Group, and much-publicized law suit (Scott v Sokolov, 1996, NCBC 2, Durham, North Carolina).

In-fighting under Dr. Sokolov’ tenure as Chairman of the Board & Vice-President for Healthcare, resulted in Coastal Physician Groups' stock price sinking from a high of $42 to around $13.

Fortunately for Dr. Sokolov, he was able to walk away from Coastal (which later became PhyAmerica Physician Group, Inc) with a sizable “chunk-of-cash”.

Currently he is Chairman and Senior Partner for SSB Solutions, Inc. His bio on the company’s website states: “….
Over the past 15 years, he has led consulting engagements with top-tier physician organizations, hospital systems, and managed care organizations in virtually every major market in the country…”

Curiously, but not surprisingly, the patient/health consumer is not mentioned. Is it because patient/health consumers do not pay exorbitant consulting fees, speakers’ honorariums or luxury hotel and airline accommodations?

The long of it:

Mr. Inlander is absolutely correct;

Dr. Sokolov, a former cardiologist, works for "...top-tier physician organizations, hospital systems, and managed care organizations..."

AMGA is absolutely wrong and was caught "red-handed";

Mr. Inlander "has a heart" & works on behalf of Patients-Health Consumers;

Dr. Sokolov does NOT work for patients/health consumers;

AMGA either knew, or should have known the content of Dr. Sokolov's presentation.

Dr. Sokolov could have removed the "patient-centric" slides to stay within the allotted time.

AMGA is in "damage to its real image" control spin;

Mr. Inlander will not be invited back by the AMGA, but he is always welcome on my blog!

The short of it:I am pointing out the obvious to the obviously blind!

Be Well!


Anonymous said...

To: "'robert donin'" robertdonin@yahoo.com
Subject: RE: Health Consumers&Mr. Inlander v AMGA Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2007 12:58:40 -0500

Mr. Donin -- Thanks for your note and sending the link to the blog.

I enjoyed reading it and the views that Dr. Dorodny expressed.

I'm not sure I agree that I won't be invited back, this was the second time they have had
me at their national meeting, the first being about 4 years ago.

I suspect they think it's important to keep an ear open to
what the other side might be thinking.

Thanks again for your email.

Dr.Dorodny said...


> Subject: Re: Health Consumers&Mr. Inlander v AMGA
> &Jacque Sokolov,M.D.
> In a message dated 3/7/2007 1:56:57 P.M. Pacific
> Interesting indeed. I have known Sokolov for years--since Edison and have spoken with him many times and do know that he has a primary concern for Sokolov!

Anonymous said...

> Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2007 09:48:12 -0800
> I saw your blog note on AMGA and Dr. What's his name
> who has made a fortune
> for a failed project at Southern California Edison.
> You guys are muckrakers
> for sure.