The Suite Spot
Book Nook: The Spitzer Wars
No four words spark more fear in the heart of an executive these days than Eliot Spitzer is here. New York's attorney general has made himself the champion of consumers and investors by blowing open many exploitative--but common--practices of Wall Street, insurers, drug makers, radio stations, and even grocery delivery companies.
In Spoiling for a Fight: The Rise of Eliot Spitzer, Brooke Masters shows how the son of a self-made real-estate millionaire cleans up dirty business. It's not always pretty. She writes that Spitzer succeeds in part because of what she calls his willingness to stretch legal interpretations--even in his own multimillion-dollar campaigns.
While former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt held hush-hush meetings that Masters says were designed to give Wall Street time to quietly fix misleading analyst reports, Spitzer released the damning analyst E-mails he'd subpoenaed. Investor anger at the hypocrisy shamed investment banks into quickly settling charges that they'd lied to and scammed investors. But the analyst settlement was criticized as letting the banks off easy and failing to return millions of dollars' worth of fines to investors.
These criticisms and Spitzer's success in curbing abuses in investing, insurance, and elsewhere will get much airtime as he runs this fall for governor of New York.
Grabbing A Bite: Rx for Health
Healthcare used to be simple: You'd go to the doctor, who'd tell you what was wrong and treat you. Wayne Gattinella wants to change that. The president and CEO of WebMD would like patients to know enough to question their doctors about cost, quality of care, and treatment options. After all, he says, in the future, you'll probably pay a bigger chunk of your healthcare expenses.
Over takeout chicken sandwiches at WebMD's Manhattan headquarters, Gattinella shared his vision of the well-equipped health consumer. He'd like to see an online session begin each doctor visit. Patients would arm themselves with medical knowledge before entering the physician's office with questions in hand. "An empowered patient ... ultimately creates better outcomes," he says.
In fact, Gattinella wants to junk the file-folder approach to health history. Of course, WebMD stands ready to help--and profit. It already stores computerized personal health records and plan-specific data for 80 large health insurers and companies. This enables employees to track and manage data about conditions, medications, and procedures from multiple doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.
WebMD's sister site, Medscape, gives doctors online medical news and tips on patient care. Both websites, which stoked a 48 percent rise in company revenue over a year ago, wrap targeted advertising around their health information. "There's no better time," Gattinella says, "to have your message presented to that particular person."
The Suite Spot: Wish List
Just press a button, and a 42-inch plasma TV equipped for surround sound rises from within Frontgate's outdoor entertainment island of stucco and ceramic tile. Cost: $16,995
This story appears in the June 19, 2006 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.