Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Great Hospital Rip Off!

Good morning my spine industry comrades! Workers of the World Unite (I like the way that sounds, since people think BO is socializing medicine)! The SpineBlogger wants to know if any of you are fed up with the following organizations; Rep Trax, Status Blue, Vendor Mate etc., etc., and so on? Have any of you wondered what in modern healthcare's name is going on? Recently, I spoke with a rep whose head started to spin. This rep posed a poignant question; "since when did vendor credentialing become a hospital administration cost?" The SpineBlogger's response was when the hospitals aligned themselves with all these other entities that have an opportunity to make money off of the companies and distributors! And then we wonder why the healthcare industry has run amok.

I know, the hospital needs to protect the patient in the event any one of us may have HIV, Hep C, TB, or may be a criminal. So I starting reflecting upon my own career in the industry and asked myself one question; "Who is protecting us?" Let's be realistic, HIPAA was enacted to protect the privacy of the patient. How many times did you find out after the fact that the patient had some associated medical illness, besides needing spine surgery? Don't we have a right to know?

How many TB tests are we going to have to take? Have many Bloodborne Pathogen Tests are we going to have to read? Don't hospitals understand that most legitimate companies run background and criminal record checks on all new employees? Don't these hospitals know that if we weren't trained we wouldn't know what we were talking about? I mean, we have entered the 21st century. But like most opportunist, there was a way to make money off of the industry and the hospital system decided to act on it. Have any of you ever read the propaganda that is written on some of these websites. Example: "Status Blue encourages communication and will work with the hospital and the vendor to make a strong partnership!" If that isn't a crock of BS, the Blogger doesn't know what is. Of course they encourage communication, the reason being that they could get your annual fees. So as you wake up this morning and put your cowboy boots on, the SpineBlogger wants to know what y'all think about these organizations?


  1. Hi there Spineblogger! Having read your blog on and off for the last few months I really feel I must comment on just how very different it appears to be working in our industry in the US to here in the UK. I often have no idea what you are talking about! Your whole time appears to be spent unravelling the politics of the US medical system. Do you actually ever spend anytime in theatre (the OR to you!) supporting your surgeons? Having worked for some of the major players in the UK spine market over the last ten years, I have never felt it was necessary to become involved in the day to day politics. Indeed on occasions this would have been truly detrimental to any career aspirations. I can only think it must be a whole other world in the US.

  2. In-search-of perfection: depending on which side of the pond you're on, our healthcare system does differs drastically from the UK''s. Depending on whom you work for, many times, our European breathren are insulated from the politics of our industry. I am not interested in spending my day unraveling the politics of the US spine market, I'm usually interested in cutting through much of the marketing and investment BS that we hear on a day-to-day basis. Many of us are as qualified to make the same analysis of our industry as some of the golden oracles that work for the analysts. Let's face it, at this current moment, as I write, there are many products looking for a procedure. As to your question regarding whether I have spent, or do I spend any time in the theatre, let's put it this way, I have probably forgotten more than most people know about the industry. Since my objective is to offer bloggers, like yourself, a forum where differing ideas can be disseminated, my anonymity is essential. I will tell you that I started in this industry around the time of Harrington Rods and there were still some Kunscher Nails floating around the theater. Besides think of how boring those other Spine Platforms are, all they ever tell you is that everything is beautiful, that the usual suspects are wonderful, and that if you pay a subscription fee you can read some of the same information that we all pull from the daily wires. Outside of that, I have to go back to work, there's a surgeon calling me to come back into the room. Keep on reading! Cheers!!!!

  3. Nice! Amen brother on all of the BS with Status Blue, etc. Total Crock!!!

  4. MM,

    Great topic and boy have you hit a nerve here.

    Where do these people get off on treating us who provide them a service as second class citizens? Where did I sign off MINE or MY REPS rights as a US citizen in order to do our jobs? Why do we as providers of service have to give up OUR HIPAA rights in order to protect the patients?

    Since we all have to
    1) sign confidentiality agreements in every place we do business as well as with the companies we represent, why are these companies and the hospitals not obligated to play by the same rules? This is directly from one of their pages and I at least gave them the courtesy of redacting their name as it is the same with all of them.

    (Please note that XXXXXX cannot guarantee the security of member account information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of member information at any time. )

    2) Since we are all mandated to take the Blood Borne Pathogens course and test I was at least taught that BBP's can only be transmitted from fluid contact with the entities concerned. And since every hospital I have ever worked in in the US (and I've been doing this long enough to remember both the Harrington Rod and Kuschner nails as well as the first go round of resurfacing) strictly forbids that any of us touch the patient where is the risk in us transmitting to them? It's us that has to pick up the instruments that many times are failed to be cleaned to protocol and thus get exposure.

    3) Who are these people and companies and what are their credentials? For all I know it is some techie in his boxer shorts living in his mothers basement (more likely a group of reps or middle management that couldn't answer the question of thread pitch or remember the hook patterns for correcting scoliosis).

    4) Then if this isn't enough to boil your blood already if you look at the privacy statements of these companies you will find.

    (XXXXXX also logs non-personally-identifiable information, including, without limitation, IP address, profile information, aggregate user data and browser type, from members, other users and visitors to the XXXXX web site. This data is used to manage the web site, track usage and improve web site services. This non-personally-identifiable information may be shared with third-parties to provide more relevant services and advertisements to members. User IP addresses are recorded for security and monitoring purposes.)

    So after they charge us for the privilege of giving up our rights they then profit from the information they get from us and sell it to people to add to the spam we already get.

    Maybe if these hospitals held THEIR staff to the standards they hold us we would not read articles like the recent one from Denver about techs stealing fentanyl and then replacing the syringes with saline exposing hundreds of patients to Hep C.

    Sorry got on a rant but I'm a touch fed up with this.

  5. I wonder where the added costs of services like RepTrax, VendorClear go? Could it be Pricing?

  6. I want to start a union for med/pharma reps to protect us from lawless company relationships like reptrax. This company allows the average nurse to use this service to restrain trade! What next, should we go through a body scanner on the way in to the hospital and let the janitors and cooks decide our sales fate

  7. Vendormate is another, $250 fee per year per account. I'm in the ortho field as a start up so I'm a sub-rep for some products, and as you know as a sub rep there is very little commission if any. I understand the verification, but there's needs to be a better way. I can provide my credentialing until the cows come home, but to be charged $250 per year per account could cost me thousands of dollars & they should not be allowed to do this to people. This could really put me out of the independent sales rep business. This is really killing me right now. This could also really hurt the whole industry in the long run by running good reps out of the business such as myself. I used to love what i do, now I can't afford to love it anymore.

  8. To the older guy's and gal's who, like I, used to love to come to work.
    Feel fortunate you were able to enjoy spine sales for what it was supposed to be, helping Surgeons to secure a better outcome for the patient.
    If I were just starting to contemplate a career in medical sales, I would most definitely go to graduate school FIRST!! and obtain a JD.
    Like the comment above, "who has our backs".
    With all of the testing, that we continually must complete, It is rather obvious where the litigation buck is being deferred to.

    I wish you well, my young friends, but I think I'll just drive my GT3 to an Eagles concert, and drink some good Chardonnay.