THE SUPERMEDS: How Private For. Profit Medical Conglomerates A re Controlling Our Health Care and What We Can Do About It by Rochelle Jones

THE SUPERMEDS: How Private For. Profit Medical Conglomerates A re Controlling Our Health Care and What We Can Do About It

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scattershot assault on the big medical conglomerates, which, says Jones (The Private World of Congress, 1979), put profits ahead of patient welfare and--by buying up community and other not-for-profit hospitals--are closing out access to health care for low-income and indigent people. Jones is at her best in her statistic-bristling documentation of how the federal government virtually bankrolled the transformation of health care from a patient-oriented ""cottage industry"" to a bottom-line-oriented megabusiness. It began in 1964 with Medicaid and Medicare sparking the rise of ""supermeds"" such as Humana and Hospital Corporation of America--which bought up or built hospitals, nursing homes, walk-in medical centers, and later went into health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) and the insurance business. Jones' history of the rise of the four top supermeds is of more than passing interest, although her horror stories of patient-mistreatment by for-profit hospitals, nursing homes, and HMOs contribute little more than a sense of dÉjàvu. In calling for the public to increase its knowledge of what goes on in for-profit health facilities, she unfortunately ignores health-consumer advocate groups such as Rodale Press's People's Medical Society, and says nary a word about resurging interest in a national health-care program. A pastiche of relatively well-known information, then, interestingly presented, but pockmarked by glaring holes.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Scribners