Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nurse What's That Smell? It's Your PEU Robot Doctor

Coming soon to a hospital near you, the robot doctor! This is courtesy of President Bush's health care plans which don't address the looming 200,000 doctor shortage, expected nationwide in 2020. While the President can provide $6 billion in incentives for energy companies to grow supply, he ignores this important aspect while saying doctors are in "short supply".

Who stands to benefit from the robot doctor's proliferation? The maker is InTouch Technologies a subsidiary of private equity underwriter, Galen Partners. A quick review of Galen's past holdings indicate sales of assets to large health insurance and medical device makers.

The private equity firms buys smaller health care companies, holds them and sells them later at a profit. Blackstone purchased one firm, might The Carlyle Group be next as they started their health care division over a year ago? Given Carlyle's ownership of huge PPO MultiPlan, they may be interested in Galen's disease management company, QMED. Let's make a deal!

The doctor pushing the robot in the AP article has a financial conflict of interest, so common in the hallowed halls of goverment and corporate boardrooms these days. The doctor owns stock options for InTouch Technologies. Recall how this pure incentive reward distorted CEO behavior on a widespread basis as nearly one third of publicly traded companies cheated by backdating their stock options. Could this cause the robot doctor to fudge the data on his patient studies? If he's as smart as a CEO or teacher, it certainly could.

This one product provides insight into the Bush health care free market. I can see why the President isn't interested in growing doctor supply, he'd rather stetch it with robots. Funny a doctor stretching device sounds like a new torture machine. Build it and export it to the U.K. as they have a few terror docs to interview!

No comments: