As you know, Amalgamated Medical has been in the news lately. While we believe that our
financial woes have been much exaggerated in the press and on Wall Street, the problems
facing us are very real indeed, and we thought you deserved to know what we intend to
do about them.
Here at Amalgamated Medical, we are convinced that responsible cost-cutting measures can be
implemented without sacrificing the high level of care our customers have learned to
expect from us. Here, then, are just a few of the actions we'll be taking in the next few
months to make Amalgamated the competitive, fiscally responsible health maintenance
organization we all want it to be:
* Effective immediately, our "Free Liposuction With Every Surgery" policy has been
* Emergency Room hours in all of our facilities will now be Monday through
Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Patients arriving
after-hours or on weekends will be issued a "Home Paramedic® Kit", so that they
can stabilize their own conditions until the next regular business day.
* To compensate for inevitable staff cutbacks, all office administration personnel will
now receive training in obstetrics and basic anesthesiology.
* Amalgamated Dental Services' "Real Men Don't Need Novocain" advertising campaign
will be expanded.
* As part of our new corporate sponsorship program, all hospital scrubs, nurses'
uniforms, and white physician coats will bear the logos and slogans of the
following corporate partners: Volvo Motors ("Now don't you wish you'd bought a
safer car?"), Healthy Choice Foods ("We TOLD you about saturated fat."), and
Acme Funeral Homes ("Because mistakes do happen...").
* Beginning January 1st, 1998, our new national Director of Gerontology and
Geriatric Medicine will be Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
* Fulfillment responsibility for Amalgamated Mental Health Services will in future be
subcontracted to Happy Time Concessions, Inc., makers of high-quality
psychopharmaceutical vending machines for the dispensing of Prozac, Zoloft, and
(for a modest additional co-payment) cuddly Gund stuffed animals.
* Recent press reports notwithstanding, pre-owned Yugo hatchbacks make perfectly
acceptable ambulances. The conversion of our fleet will proceed.
* Patients whose treatment involves the use of expensive medical equipment (e.g.
CAT-scan, heart-lung, and kidney dialysis machines) will henceforth be subject to
our new "you break it, you bought it" policy.
Admittedly, Amalgamated Medical has made mistakes in recent years. But we hope that the
end result of our difficulties will be a stronger and more responsive company, devoted to
providing the highest-quality health care for you and your family. After all, we've been
nursing the sick for many years now. We're not about to let a few lawsuits and state
attorney-general investigations stop us now.
Edmund Q. Saunders
Gary Krist's most recent book is "Bad Chemistry."