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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