The Health of Care

from Peter S. Fine

Peter S. Fine

Peter S. Fine

Of course, it’s not easy to improve the overall health of an employee population — but it can be done. This issue of In Business Magazine provides a lot of good information to employers who are seeking to improve the wellness and lower the costs of healthcare expenditures for employees.

I’d like you to also consider another action you can take that can improve care and lower costs: Complete a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney. In fact, I hope you’ll bring this issue to the attention of colleagues throughout your organization.

I can tell you that every day in hospitals across the country, the lack of these documents contributes to divisive conflict within families huddled over dying loved ones. Yet, surveys indicate that only a third of adults in our country have done this.

Media reported in 2010 that Medicare pays some $55 billion for care during the last two months of patients’ lives. I question how effective these significant expenditures were in supporting better patient care and quality of life.

A significantly higher rate of completion of Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney documents by adults of all ages will not only provide emotional relief for families but also provide financial relief for all of us who ultimately bear the costs of unnecessary care. I also have approached leaders in Washington and have asked them to consider making the completion of these documents part of the Medicare application process.

Any action consumers can take to improve care and lower costs can contribute to improving our health system. Complete a living will and medical power of attorney.


Peter S. Fine
President and Chief Executive Officer
Banner Health

Peter Fine is president and CEO of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest secular, nonprofit healthcare organizations. Banner operates 24 hospitals and other services in seven states, employs more than 36,000 people and has approximately $5 billion dollars in revenue. It is Arizona’s second-largest private employer.

Fine received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University and his master’s degree in health care administration from George Washington University. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and continues to be active in community and industry organizations.

Among Fine’s numerous honors from prestigious organizations are the 2010 CEO IT Achievement Award from Modern Healthcare and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the National Healthcare Award in 2007 from B’nai B’rith International. 

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