Single Entities Can't Survive Without A United Perspective

March 28, 2008
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Health Quarterly this month provides an update on a variety of projects and issues, including the state ballot initiative by HealthCare for Michigan, which is seeking signatures of registered voters to place a requirement for universal health care on the November ballot. A “yes” vote at the polls would amend the Michigan Constitution and require lawmakers to enact coverage as outlined by the proposal.

Reporter David Czurak notes in the story on page 9 that supporters of the ballot petition believe the effort has as much to do with the health of the state’s economy as it does with the wellness of the state’s citizens.

In July 2006, HQ interviewed Paul Farr, M.D., who was at the time president of the Michigan State Medical Society and used that position as a pulpit to support universal health care coverage through a variety of sources, not just insurance companies. Farr said, “The pressure on business is tremendous. But what’s to choose: Stay in business or pay for health care?”

Another reoccurring theme — in this region — has been the collaborative efforts in the various segments of the health care industry. In part, those are necessary in a region of this size compared to major metro areas. One entity alone does not draw the attention given to a “group” or coalition of greater number. That said, Vital Signs columnist David Van Andel makes an impressive point in his discussion of the impact of ClinXus, a West Michigan alliance of local life sciences and health care organizations. Van Andel notes it has created an international consortium, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency and the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Local collaboration creating an international consortium is big news.

ClinXus was selected as one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s top 10 economic impact stories of 2007. Panel members determining the top story (Newsmaker of the Year) held to more traditional economic impact formulas in selecting Metro Health Village.

But Van Andel was correct when he told the Business Journal, “People don’t understand it, or its impact.”

One has to consider the losses that can be calculated in terms of business potential, new developments or innovations based on a “lack of understanding” not impeding an opportunity and revenue streams.

The same can be said for collaboration and missed opportunities to participate. The health care community, particularly those in the service sector, is too often blinded by competition and ego to participate in a way that offers greater gain — in the long term. And those are the innovations that benefit the entire community. HQX

— Carole Valade

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