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Opinion: Medicine's fading traditions of generosity

The Atlantic, July 10, 2013

Hospital care was a bargain compared with today, when a day in the hospital, not counting the fees for physicians, medications, and procedures, generally runs at least $2,000. And it deserves repeating that many of the services we now take for granted, including tests such as mammography, drugs such as SSRIs and newer antidepressants, and procedures such as laparoscopic surgery, were not available then at any price. Another big change concerns the people running the hospital. Back then, the administrator in charge of day-to-day operations was called the superintendent, and he was a Methodist minister. Today the administrator typically bears a business title such as CEO, and he or she is flanked by a CFO, a COO, and a legion of other staff whose degrees are far less likely to be in ministry than business.