Many of our readers know our position regarding POD's. POD's are a fundamental threat to our livelihood. But first let's look at Dr. Steinman's rationale for escalating implant prices, decreasing reimbursements for physicians, and declining hospital profits. To blame the escalating cost of healthcare on the salesperson is unadulterated non-sense. (For civilities sake, I'll let Steinman discern what I really mean). Anyone that has tenure within this industry will remember when doctors were doctors, and didn't want to be anything else but being a doctor. Dr. Steinman and his colleagues have probably spent tens of thousands of dollars for a legal opinion for the freedom to operate this business model on the Left Coast because of their beliefs that the decision makers over which device to use are not the purchasers, and, that there is an absence of effective price negotiation and price control. As an FYI Dr. Steinman, pricing pressures have effected every company in the device industry whether it is a reconstruction, trauma, or spine company, TSB must question if he is working in the same healthcare environment that most of us do? Frankly, Steinman thinks that distributors and product reps are overpaid.
Considering that many surgeons spend their time complaining about decreasing reimbursements, should salespeople be insulted by Dr. Steinman's comments? For Dr. Steinman's education, many of us work as hard as he does, and yes Dr. Steinman, our livelihood has been effected by what's going on in healthcare. Just like in your profession, there are people in our industry that are overpaid. Unfortunately, you and your colleagues are looking for solutions in all the wrong places. CEO's make tens of millions of dollars a year, so, why don't you pick a fight with those people? The answer is because it's easier to pick on the little guy. Let's face it, you don't have the "cohonies" to fight the big guys! Everything is relative. In today's environment companies are looking for new and innovative ways to decrease the salesperson's commissions as their margins are cut into by pricing pressures. Remember the old saying, "we have a responsibility to our shareholders."
But let's talk about decreasing reimbursement. What have you and your colleagues done about the ever rising cost of healthcare in this country and your declining reimbursements? Nothing! Have you challenged the anti-trust laws and how they affect your ability to have an equal footing in healthcare? No! Have you considered a medical strike to show the government and the insurance industry that you will not stand idle while they tear apart healthcare in this country? No! Have you marched on Washington and challenged the Congress regarding Medicare cuts? No! You talk a big game, but cower like children when it comes to standing up to the big boys. A real activist stands up for his beliefs, but TSB would not expect anything less from a generation that has a sense of entitlement. You would rather feed the beast, and hire pedigree lobbyist to fight your fight. Since when did surgeons start worrying about declining hospital profits? You honestly believe that the hospital is your ally? Did Mr. Eisner really mean that your practice is in Disneyland? Maybe, you should start by evaluating the people mismanaging your hospitals that take exorbitant salaries and stock options, and brow beat us to discount our products and still continue to run facilities into tremendous financial debt. Maybe, just maybe, you need to spend more time fighting tort reform, the insurance industry, and the federal government in your quest to address the escalating cost of implants, your inequity in reimbursements and your hospitals inability to be profitable. Using the salesperson as a means to an end is rather poor judgement on your part. Besides, you're just looking for another avenue to make more money.
The next time TSB hears some spine surgeon complaining about the anesthesiologist or the interventional radiologist doing a case that you believe they should not be doing, I'm just going to stand back and laugh at you. TSB wants to know what our readers think?