Meeting new HMSA chief
We were impressed with Michael Stollar, new chief executive officer of Hawaii Medical Service Association, when we met him for the first time Friday morning.
Stollar took over direction of HMSA when Michael Gold retired.
Among other items, Stollar said that while there have been some bumps in the road, he has been pleased with the progress Kaiser Permanente has made since taking over the facilities that formerly made up the Maui Region of Hawaii Health System Corp. in July.
Stollar also answered our questions about what is being done to try to put some brakes on the spiraling cost of health care. As regular readers know, we write here often about our frustrations and concerns over ever-rising medical costs.
Among other items, Stollar said that HMSA is studying efforts in Maryland to standardize costs for treatment. The Maryland Health Service Cost Review Commission has a plan for every hospital in the state to charge the same price for medical and surgical procedures.
Stollar said that HMSA is intensely interested in the cost review commission’s efforts and will send a representative there to observe their efforts and results.
When queried about the high price of drugs, Stollar responded it would take a federal effort to regulate what Big Pharma can charge and how big of a profit margin it should be allowed. When pressed about the sometimes-huge differences between drug prices in the United States and Canada, Stollar pointed out that the Canadian government negotiates the pricing with pharmaceutical companies.
Stollar also revealed Friday that Maui is next in line to have an HMSA Neighborhood Service Center. The new facility will handle a variety of items for HMSA subscribers, including health-related classes and bill paying. It will open at the end of this year or the beginning of next year at the Pu‘unene Shopping Center in Kahului.
We left the meeting feeling that the largest health insurer in the state remains in very good hands. Michael Stollar comes across as a bright, forthright individual. Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.