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The Nineteenth Hole

Three physicians are out golfing - then, a sudden storm, a bolt of lightning, choir music in the background: you know the routine.

St. Peter says to the first of the trio: "You know the routine. Let’s hear what you did with your life."

The first one says: "Uh, well, I graduated second in my class from Yale, and decided to devote my career to the prevention of lazy-eye blindness in children. I’ve written more than twenty papers on the subject, have lectured at every medical society in the world, and was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in recognition of my contributions, small as they were."

Peter looks at him and says: "Hell, I don’t even need to call on you, I read some of your lectures myself. You’re in!"

Sound of trumpets, gates open, angels carry him inside. "See you guys at the nineteenth hole!" he yells over his shoulder.

Peter says to the second of the trio: "OK, you’re next. You know the routine. Let’s hear what you did with your life."

Number two clears his throat and speaks quietly: "I, uh, didn’t have the illustrious career of my fellow, but I can honestly say that I lived a good and productive life, and that I never cheated anybody or bent the rules to make my job easier. Come to think of it, I should also mention that I’ve spent one day a month at the free clinic for the past twenty-three years, helping to assure proper neo-natal and pre-natal care for disadvantaged mothers and children."

Peter looks at him and says: "Hmmm..." He picks up the gold plated telephone, says "Yes, sir", and listens for a moment: then nods, puts the phone down and says "The boss says the free clinic counts for a lot, and he’ll let you slide on the affair with what’s-his-name’s secretary: you’re in, too."

Sound of trumpets, yadda yadda, same routine. "See you at the nineteenth hole!" he yells over his shoulder.

"OK", says the Archangel, "third ones the charm. How about you?"

The last doctor straightens his back, looks him in the eye and speaks: "I realized very early on that my expertise was as a people manager, and I’ve made a solid career by forging proactive alliances between doctors, nurses, patients, and other health care professionals. I managed the Wall street Community Health Plan for seventeen years, and during my stay I formed the first Tiger teams in health care management, combining professionals from all areas of expertise to contain health care costs and establish realistic levels of care and service on a going forward basis. During my tenure at WCHP, the average cost of care per patient declined over sixty-four percent."

Saint Peter raises an eyebrow, and then the phone chimes: he lifts it slowly. "Yes, sir. Yes, sir, sixty-four percent". After a moment more, he smiles, and says "of course, sir, that’s very fair."

"The boss says you can come in, too", he tells the much-relieved executive.

The gates slide open, the trumpets blare, the angels come out, and then Peter intones:

"Oh, by the way - the head guy only authorized a two-day stay."


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