The message on the orange mailer is emblazoned in Dr. Barbara McAneny’s mind.
From a local hospital in Albuquerque, it contradicted everything she had been telling cancer patients about how to get quality care without going bankrupt. “If the complications of your cancer seem urgent and you can’t reach your doctor,” the mailer said, “a trip to the emergency department could save your life.”
By then, McAneny had succeeded in reducing costly ED visits and hospitalizations by delivering stepped-up care to her patients at New Mexico Cancer Center. But it was clear from the mailer’s alarmist message, and other encounters, that hospitals in the community didn’t appreciate her efforts.