Temple alumni as well as current students gathered Sept. 16 at the Fox School of Business to discuss and debate a topic that continues to be controversial across the country as well as college campuses: healthcare reform.
The event, hosted by the Fox School of Business Alumni Association as well as the Healthcare Management Alumni Association, was split into two parts, the first of which being an open seminar featuring guest speaker and prestigious alumni Frank Tidikis. Tidikis, a graduate of 1974 and formerly the Chief Operating Officer of MDVIP, delivered a guest lecture on concierge medicine and its potential impact on Americans in a post-healthcare reform era.
His presentation, which largely focused on a perspective not often portrayed in the news, gave an outlook from the angle of a physician or a clinic trying to maintain efficiency and quality in practice that is balanced with business. “What [the government doesn’t] address, is the payment of physicians … So if you have a guy or girl come out of medical school with a huge debt, and yet their income is limited at a certain level, you haven’t really changed that paradigm at all,” Tidikis said. His presentation also noted that operating costs for hospitals and clinics have gone up by 33 percent in the last decade, while reimbursement rates for physicians have been continually declining, with rates expecting to take a nosedive in 2011.
“The presentation was great information for all students looking to work in healthcare management, and an interesting outlook on healthcare reform,” said senior Carly Hahn, who aims to earn her master’s degree in healthcare management this spring.
The second section of the event, a panel featuring Tidikis as well as Temple alumni Michael Zuckerman, took a more direct look at the potential impacts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed into law earlier this year.
Tidikis argued that the reform may only perpetuate problems that already exist in the medical field. “Physicians aren’t recommending their own profession,” he said. He noted administrative hassles and increases in expenses as reasons why many may shy away from the modern medical field. He also used corruption examples in Massachusetts’ “Romneycare” healthcare system as a comparison to what may happen with the new healthcare reform, pointing out that the state has witnessed a 48 percent cost increase since 2006 and is on the verge of bankruptcy. “There had to be a more cost-effective way to go about this,” he said.
Zuckerman, in response, rebutted saying that “Obamacare” is necessary for the reason that it will “… keep the United States competitive with western countries over the next century.”
“We can’t go back to the ‘good old days’, because the ‘good old days’ would mean certain bankruptcy for our country,” Zuckerman said. While acknowledging that he agreed with “75 percent” of his colleague’s views, he expressed his own belief that “Everyone should have access to an equal quality care.”
The annual event ended after two hours of sometimes-tense debate, but ended on a positive note as Alumni Association leaders closed the evening with a smile and select words of kindness. William Aaronson, associate dean for graduate programs at the Fox School of Business, particularly expressed great interest in bringing more successful alumni back to Temple and the Philadelphia area in the future for similar gatherings.
“We have a good number of alums throughout the country that have had some very good careers, and it’s time we started to bring them back to campus.”
Brandon Baker can be reached at email@example.com.