Ir­re­spon­si­ble jour­nal­ism

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters - Cur­tis Rooney Pres­i­dent Health In­dus­try Group Pur­chas­ing As­so­ci­a­tion Wash­ing­ton

Your story on health­care ex­ec­u­tive com­pen­sa­tion (“Pay loses its perk,” May 16, p. 26) was an ir­re­spon­si­ble at­tempt to paint the en­tire group-pur­chas­ing in­dus­try in an un­flat­ter­ing light us­ing in­com­plete and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion about my com­pen­sa­tion and the Health In­dus­try Group Pur­chas­ing As­so­ci­a­tion’s dis­clo­sure prac­tices.

Al­though Mod­ern Health­care ap­par­ently called as­so­ci­a­tion man­age­ment com­pany SmithBuck­lin for the pur­poses of the story, I never re­ceived a sin­gle in­quiry from Mod­ern Health­care re­gard­ing my salary and ben­e­fits. Had Mod­ern Health­care called me di­rectly, as its re­porters have fre­quently done in the past both in con­nec­tion with this sur­vey and on a broad range of is­sues, the re­porter would have ob­tained the facts needed for his ar­ti­cle in a five-minute phone call. I know this be­cause that is ex­actly what hap­pened im­me­di­ately af­ter I be­came aware of the story. If any­thing, HIGPA over-dis­closed in an ef­fort to be com­pletely trans­par­ent.

Sadly, this ap­pears to be a case of not let­ting the facts get in the way of a good story. The story was a reck­less ad hominem at­tack on the en­tire in­dus­try based on noth­ing but an ad­min­is­tra­tive mat­ter at SmithBuck­lin, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that is not even a part of the GPO in­dus­try. We were fur­ther dis­ap­pointed that, even af­ter re­ceiv­ing all de­sired in­for­ma­tion, Mod­ern Health­care chose not to re­move HIGPA from its story, nor fully cor­rect the orig­i­nal premise and in­ac­cu­ra­cies.

Group pur­chas­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions are the most trans­par­ent in­dus­try in health­care, ag­gres­sively work­ing to pro­mote open­ness, accountability and the high­est eth­i­cal stan­dards in busi­ness prac­tice. In sup­port of trans­parency, GPOs dis­close all ad­min­is­tra­tive fees in writ­ing to GPO mem­bers at least an­nu­ally and make the same in­for­ma­tion avail­able at the re­quest of the HHS sec­re­tary. The Health Group Pur­chas­ing In­dus­try Ini­tia­tive also posts on a pub­lic web­site the in­dus­try-spe­cific busi­ness prac­tices that have been at­tested to by in­di­vid­ual GPO ex­ec­u­tives.

Mod­ern Health­care prides it­self on be­ing the most trusted, cred­i­ble news source in the health­care space. We hope that Mod­ern Health­care’s re­port­ing in the fu­ture re­flects those stan­dards. At the very least, the sub­jects of your sto­ries de­serve a phone call and an earnest at­tempt to ob­tain the facts prior to pub­li­ca­tion. Edi­tor’s note: Mod­ern Health­care con­tacted SmithBuck­lin of­fi­cials sev­eral times for this story. SmithBuck­lin of­fi­cials an­swered some ques­tions and said they re­ferred oth­ers to HIGPA for com­ment. HIGPA’s com­ments came af­ter the print dead­line for the story but were added to the on­line ver­sion of the story. To read the on­line ver­sion, visit mod­ern health­care.com/as­so­ci­a­tion­salaries.

Rooney

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