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.