Ex­pe­ri­ence, know-how could ben­e­fit Cos­grove

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By An­dis Robeznieks

The fact both can­di­dates praised Cleve­land Clinic Pres­i­dent and CEO Dr. Toby Cos­grove in the 2012 pres­i­den­tial de­bates isn’t the only rea­son he could win bi­par­ti­san sup­port should Pres­i­dent Barack Obama nom­i­nate him to head the em­bat­tled Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment.

A for­mer Air Force sur­geon in Viet­nam, he has the mil­i­tary back­ground nec­es­sary for any out­sider brought in to re­place Sec­re­tary Eric Shin­seki, who re­signed af­ter the VA’s wait­ing-list scan­dal. He’s also knows how to play the po­lit­i­cal game. Cam­paign fi­nance records show he do­nated to Repub­li­can can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney’s cam­paign to un­seat Obama, but also con­trib­uted to Ohio Democrats Sher­rod Brown, Lee Fisher and Mar­cia Fudge.

“He knows his way around Wash­ing­ton and the vet­er­ans’ ser­vice or­ga­ni­za­tions,” said Don­ald Fisher, CEO of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal Group As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents large physi­cian prac­tices like the Cleve­land Clinic.

Con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings wouldn’t be easy though. A decade ago, Cos­grove and the Cleve­land Clinic were em­broiled in a con­flict-of-in­ter­est con­tro­versy that led to him cut­ting ties with a med­i­cal-de­vice com­pany and a ven­ture cap­i­tal firm. Safety con­cerns at the clinic (see p. 7) also could be­come an is­sue.

But Cos­grove’s pas­sion for physi­cian en­gage­ment—a key strat­egy for re­solv­ing prob­lems at the VA—could over­shadow those con­cerns. “Any am­bi­tious strat­egy that they do not em­brace is doomed,” Cos­grove wrote in a co-au­thored es­say in the lat­est Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view.

“He clearly knows how to man­age a large health­care sys­tem, and he would be able to draw on his ex­pe­ri­ences as a health­care ex­ec­u­tive, a physi­cian, an in­no­va­tor and a vet­eran,” said Wayne Smith, CEO of Com­mu­nity Health Sys­tems, a Franklin, Tenn.-based for-profit sys­tem that re­cently formed a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Cleve­land Clinic. “He could bring unique and valu­able per­spec­tive to the po­si­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.