Published Aug 25, 2001
The president of a large managed care company was also chairman of the board of his community's symphony orchestra.
Finding he could not go to one of his concerts, he gave the tickets to the company's director of health care containment.
The next morning, the president asked the director how he enjoyed the performances. Instead of the expected usual polite remarks, the director handed him a memorandum which read as follows:
1. The attendance of the orchestra conductor is unnecessary for public performances. The orchestra has obviously practiced and has received prior authorization from the conductor to play the symphony at a predetermined level of quality. Considerable money could have been saved merely by having the conductor critique the orchestra's performance during a retrospective peer review meeting.
2. For considerable periods, the four oboe players had nothing to do. Their numbers should be reduced and their work spread over the whole orchestra, thus eliminating peaks and valleys of activity.
3. All twelve violins were playing identical notes with identical motions. This is unnecessary duplication: the staff of this section should be drastically cut with consequent savings. If a larger volume of sound is required, this could be obtained through electric amplification, which has reached very high levels of reproductive quality.
4. Much effort was expended playing 16th notes or semi-quavers. This seems excessive refinement as most of the listeners are unable to distinguish such rapid playing. It is recommended that all notes be rounded up to the nearest eighth. If this is done, it would be possible to use trainees and lower grade operators with no loss of quality.
5. No useful purpose would appear to be served by repeating with horns the same passage that has already been handled by the strings. If all such redundant passages were eliminated, as determined by the utilization review committee, the concert could have been reduced from two hours to twenty minutes, with greater savings in salaries and overhead. In fact, if Schubert had attended to these matters on a cost containment basis, he probably would have been able to finish his symphony.
Shubert might have been able to finish his symphony, but with the lost beauty of the real appreciation of the music! The listener suffers...
The same with health care...with so much cost cutting going on, the art of nursing like the music, is lost and the patient suffers...tremendously!
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