Community medicine

We've already touched, in this space, on what a good thing it was that Northern Ohio Medical Specialists, a local doctors' group, an
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

We've already touched, in this space, on what a good thing it was that Northern Ohio Medical Specialists, a local doctors' group, and Medical Mutual of Ohio, an insurance company, managed to hammer out an agreement that allows Medical Mutual policy holders to be treated by NOMS doctors.

That had been in limbo after a contract expired last year and talks stalled. What the agreement does is, restores the peace of mind patients of the group doctors had in knowing the cost of their care would be covered by their policies.

We find, though, it's also necessary to salute the role played by Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk in catalyzing the agreement.

The hospital sent a letter explaining what the uncertainty was doing, not only to patients directly associated with the doctors' group and with Medical Mutual, but to the whole community.

"It made no logical sense for us to have physicians on our staff that couldn't treat patients," said Fisher-Titus CEO Pat Martin in explaining why his hospital stepped into the fray.

It's business, of course; one can decry the attention to the bottom line in matters medical, but the fact is services don't last long without being viable in the business sense.

But Martin's letter also points out one other aspect of our business climate: There is no such thing as an isolated incident. The NOMS-Medical Mutual dispute was affecting the hospital's business operations and the care given there, and that was affecting patient care even for those patients not directly associated with either side. Specialized care areas at Fisher-Titus were the province of doctors who happened to be NOMS members, and those areas were being hurt.

It's little different from the nervousness which retail and service businesses look at the tribulations of a major area employer such as Delphi or ACH: The people who pull down paychecks at those businesses spend those paychecks with other local businesses.

There's plenty of talk these days about holistic medicine -- how one treats the entire patient and not simply the disease or symptom. Incidents such as the NOMS-Medical Mutual dispute, and Fisher-Titus' involvement in the problem, show us the business side of medicine must be holistic, too.