It seems as if a lot of the current health system change jargon has to do with getting someone else to whitewash that darn picket fence.
Tom Sawyer, of course, made whitewashing picket fences famous by persuading all of the other boys in town that whitewashing a picket fence is one of the most enjoyable activities around.
Health insurers seem to be inclined to try to get doctors and hospitals to think that making sure that patients get their exercise and their shots, and not too much medical care, is an equally wonderful, profitable activity.
We hear a fair amount about “patient-centered medical homes” and “accountable care organizations” (ACOs) these days. It seems as if “running a patient-centered medical home” and “running ACOs” are the modern equivalent of saying, “Hey, Huck, wouldn’t just love to have the privilege of getting Jane Doe to come in this summer for her mammogram?”
The picket fence concept came to mind today as I was listening to the playback of the third-quarter earnings call for Healthways Inc. (Nasdaq:HWAY).
For investors, the big news is that the wellness and condition management company is reporting $5 million in net income for the latest quarter on $167 million in revenue, compared with $9.5 million in net income on $176 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2011.
Cigna Corp. broke up with Healthways a few quarters back after buying a health management company of its own, and one of the tasks on Healthways’ to-do list is reassuring investors that, yes, there are plenty of other health management customers around, thank you.