December 22, 2014

Dr. Morris Collen's reflections on physician recruitment and reincarnation

Dr. Morris Collen on physician recruitment, 6/6/2011

Contributed by Lincoln Cushing, Archivist and Historian

For several years, a delegation of physicians from the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group on their way through California to a national conference made a pilgrimage to see the Permanente Creek and enjoy lunch with Dr. Morris Collen, M.D. (1914–2014).

At these informal gatherings Dr. Collen would recount amazing stories of World War II shipyard health care, building a postwar practice under the adversity of the American Medical Association, the challenges of hospital management, and opening up the field of medical informatics.

Dr. Collen explains in this short video clip how he handled questions about working for Kaiser Permanente:

So, when the young physicians are saying, “Jeesh, medicine is so complicated, with the insurance companies, and this, that, and the other, should I go into medicine?”, I used to give them a big lecture on the difference between fee-for-service and prepaid group practice, and we’d get into a big argument.

So all I do now is say, “Well, I’ll tell you. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, I’m going to come back, go to medical school, and then apply to be a Permanente physician again.”

And they'd all say well, he’s lost his marbles, but at least there’s no more argument.

Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources ends 2014 with a heartfelt nod to Dr. Collen, who passed away this September 27th and could never be accused of having too few marbles.