Thursday, February 16, 2012

HHC $2 Million Consultant Contract

Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Chair of the New York City Council Health Committee, is silent about the $2 million consulting contract.

From The New York Times :

More than a year ago, the city’s public hospital system announced that it would create a management structure for its medical staff that would centralize a fragmented system and save millions of dollars.

As part of that plan, the hospital system agreed to pay Navigant, a consulting company, nearly $2 million a year for the services of two consultants, one of them part time, according to a copy of a contract obtained this week by The New York Times.

The contract says that Navigant would be paid $1.95 million to cover “professional fees, travel and living expenses” for the services of two people: Dr. Marc A. Bard, a Boston-based physician and health care management consultant, who was required to be in New York four and a half to five days a week, and Martin Rosenberg, a consultant based in Atlanta, who was required to be in New York one day a week.

Dr. Bard resigned this week, though it was not immediately clear why. Some doctors had privately complained about the high level of compensation being drawn from a financially strained system serving the city’s poor. Dr. Bard and Mr. Rosenberg did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment. It was not clear if Mr. Rosenberg was still consulting for the city’s hospital system.

A spokesman for Navigant said he would defer to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. Ana Marengo, a spokeswoman for the corporation, said in an e-mail that Dr. Bard and the management “came to a mutual understanding that this is a good time to transition to new, permanent leadership.”

The consultants’ job was to manage doctors for a newly created professional corporation, the Physician Affiliate Group of New York, known as Pagny.

It employs about 2,000 doctors and other professional staff members at six city hospitals and negotiates their salaries and benefits.

The detailed 17-page contract promises to create a professional corporation that would “influence the market,” and it promises to do this “while forming a culture that is open, entrepreneurial and fun.” The contract also says that Navigant “cannot guarantee or assure the achievement of any particular performance objective.”

When the hospitals corporation announced the formation of Pagny, in September 2010, Alan Aviles, the system’s chief, said it was part of a long-term plan to gain more control over the running of the hospitals.

Many hospital networks have been planning for a shift toward so-called accountable-care organizations, a new system in which hospitals’ insurance payments will be tied to patient outcomes.

Traditionally, many of the city’s public hospitals have had contracts with medical schools allowing the schools to hire and fire doctors, and imposing a buffer between the corporation and its employees.

Pagny now employs the doctors at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, Metropolitan and Harlem hospitals in Manhattan, and Jacobi, North Central Bronx and Lincoln hospitals in the Bronx.

Dr. Bard’s role was to run Pagny.

“We were fortunate to secure a founding C.E.O. with a leading reputation in A.C.O.’s and the support of the Navigant organization to build a new organization infrastructure from the ground up,” Ms. Marengo said.

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