Is Your Hospital’s ‘Vast Marketing Department’ Exploiting Consumers?

David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler offer the following opinion in the NYT: hospitals have too much overhead. Very possible. But let’s not forget that hospitals are a business in a very competitive, very complex market. Marketing is a neccessary evil. As are bean-counters, business strategists, and many of the other ‘financial schemers’ used in running a medical center (and any other large business).  Right?

Hospitals also devote a quarter of their revenue to overhead, nearly twice what’s needed. Vast marketing departments and whole buildings that house highly paid financial schemers are the norm in our medical centers. Their goals: attract patients for profitable high tech procedures (whether needed or not); avoid the unprofitably ill (e.g. most psychiatric patients); and jack up billings by exaggerating patients’ illnesses and gaming reimbursement rules.”

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