Sunday, August 13, 2017

Samaritans -- Jonathan Lynn

Samaritans is a sad, scary, and very funny book about healthcare in America.  Samaritans is a hospital in Washington, D.C., and it has plenty of problems.  It's losing money, and it's poorly managed.  So in desperation the board hires Max Green, a man with no experience in running a hospital, to be its new CEO.  Green has been managing a Las Vegas casino, and he's going to run Samaritans like a business.  He plans for the hospital, and for himself, to make money.  Lots and lots of money.

How's he going to do that?  To start with he's going to hire superstar doctors.  To pay them, he'll have to cut costs elsewhere, but who cares about people in the low-paying jobs?  It's the Big Names that count.  This is just the first of many bad (but good for Green and the bottom line) ideas, another of which is that patients are just customers.   They have to pay for what they get.  As Green puts it,  “People can’t have what they can’t afford.  That’s what got America into this economic mess – people wanting something for nothing."
Things go pretty well at first, but eventually the luck runs out, and Green's schemes and corner-cutting begin to catch up with him.  Green has to resort to, well, you can't really call it murder, can you?  

You'll laugh a lot when you read Samaritans, but it will be a hollow laughter because you'll realize that what you're reading is all too possible.  This is satire with a real bite.  Check it out.


Don Coffin said...

Being, as I am, married to a woman who did cost accounting in hospitals for over 25 can't, in the world as it exists (even in the US) get away with most of the stuff that appears to be going on in that book...unless essentially all your patients (customers) are self-pay...which they wouldn't be...But what I have read about it here (and elsewhere) suggests it's really funny, so realism may not be required.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I first remember Jonathan Lynn as a young actor. Then he co-wrote Yes,.Minister and Yes, Prime Minister. He directed Nunsure on the Run and My Cousin Vinny.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I hate autocorrect.

Nuns, you morons.

Bill Crider said...

Don, it's not realistic, but it's very (sadly) funny, and the lack of realism didn't really bother me. I can suspend disbelief all too easily.

Jeff, I knew it was Nuns.