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MD Anderson: Cancer Treatment To Enrich Themselves at Your expense

January 28, 2014

In The Bitter Pill, a magazine piece in Tim about the inflated cost of medical care, MD Anderrson of Texas was exposed as marking up the cost of cancer care by several thousands of dollars and its president gets amuloti-milloion dollar salary. I wrote them and critricized them. Then I got this canned response from their female PR person, Jennifer Kennedy-Stovall. (So much for the glass ceiling when you just become like every other soulless gender-free suit). And I followed it with a short response.


Dear Mr. Reiss,


Thank you for contacting MD Anderson regarding the Time magazine article.

We’re sorry that you are disappointed with the article.


Health care pricing and billing are incredibly complex, and it’s difficult

to describe all of the intricacies and scenarios in a magazine article.

This is not just a challenge for MD Anderson, but all health care

institutions, private or nonprofit. It also is exacerbated by changes in

our environment, such as the economic climate and health care reform. You

should know that MD Anderson works constantly to make our practices more



It’s also important to share that the money (margin) MD Anderson retains

after all our expenses goes back into our cancer research and education

programs. These funds help us develop new therapies for patients, something

for which MD Anderson is known. The margin – along with generous

philanthropy – is poured into programs that benefit everyone, not just at

MD Anderson, but thousands of patients around the globe.


Cancer is an especially complex foe that involves hundreds of diseases –

not just one – and its care requires a specialized team of experts, drugs

that take many years to test and develop, and intricate technologies that

detect the slightest changes in the patient’s body. It’s also expensive,

and we know the financial aspects of treatment cause our patients great

burden, beyond what they already carry with their diagnosis.


Please know that there are a number of financial assistance programs

available, most notably for Texans, and our clinic staff is well versed to

talk about these programs or make referrals. We want our patients and

caregivers to know that it’s important to talk about financial and

insurance issues whenever questions or concerns arise, as tough as those

discussions are to have.


We have an Institute of Cancer Care Innovation as well as internal

committees that have been looking at ways to make MD Anderson care more

efficient without compromising quality of care and outcomes. Hundreds of

our employees are involved in projects now that look at the value we

provide, and we’re devoted to this “science of improvement,” just as we’re

committed to our mission to eliminate cancer. Feedback from our patients,

caregivers and supporters is included in these discussions.


Thank you again for taking the time to provide your feedback to us and

giving us an opportunity to share our comments regarding the article.



Jennifer Kennedy-Stovall

Director, askMDAnderson

Public Education Office

MD Anderson Cancer Center



Thanks for your response. You’d have made a good living doing PR for Auschwitz. You’re darkness.


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 30, 2014 12:24 am

    C’mon, Fred, they’ve got committees. Probably blue-ribbon committees, with feedback. Feedback don’t come cheap, you know.

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