KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Cleveland, Obama Visits ‘Model’ Clinic

"President Barack Obama arrived at the Cleveland Clinic without fanfare… Thursday afternoon" to visit the medical center he's called a model of low-cost, high-quality care, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Obama said he wasn't seeking an endorsement from the hospital, only information. "There has been a lot of discussion in Washington about the very different model that we and the Mayo [Clinic] have, and he wanted to understand it better," Clinic CEO Dr. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove said (Zeltner and Townsend, 7/24).

"Among the attributes that set it apart [from other health care providers] are a salaried staff, an engineered delivery system, electronic record-keeping, strong interest in the patient's experience, and a work culture committed self-improvement," the Washington Post reports. The clinic has used these attributes to develop an integrated approach that contains costs. A 2004 study of 13 major hospitals found that "the average spending on a Medicare patient with severe chronic disease during the last two years of life was $35,455 at the Cleveland Clinic, which was the cheapest. Massachusetts General Hospital came in at $47,880, Johns Hopkins at $60,653, and UCLA Medical Center led the list at $72,793" (Brown, 7/23).

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