In this month's mailbag, readers respond to recent H&HN Daily pieces on the increasing importance of primary care, whether insurers can effectively lead population health initiatives and whether the "Whole Man" leadership strategies used by the U.S. Army effectively translate to health care.

Reader Glenn Tamir weighed in on Ian Morrison's recent piece on the expanding role of primary care in the health care system of the future:

"Excellent and true analysis!  Hospitals and health care networks need to become 'lean' just like manufacturing in America has had to do to remain economically viable.  After all, you can't ship your patients to China for treatment!"

A reader identified as Rem weighed in on H&HN Publisher Mary Grayson's recent podcast commentary about the increasing role of insurers in managing population health:

"It seems that many among us have concluded that the 'doctor-patient' relationship confers a right to make any health care choice and that every benefit plan must cover those choices (and to spend someone else's money to pay for it).  The rightful place of the benefit plan is to pool risk (insurance). That includes deciding what is covered and what is not; selling insurance; setting payment rates; deciding which health care providers to contract with; and administering benefits. Health care management belongs to providers and patients. Benefits plans should monitor and coach both providers and patients then kick out those unwilling to get with the program. That is the role clarification that we need but who will step up and make the unpopular decisions?"

Beth Leker critiqued Michael Frisina's recent column on how hospital leaders can incorporate the "Whole Man" leadership lessons popularized by the U.S. Army:

"It seems this article has an underlying male chauvinist side to it. You have managed to write an article that culls women out of leadership roles in health care. Thankfully as an Army veteran myself, I didn't get sucked into 'a whole man' concept. Instead I learned extremely valuable leadership skills that helped me develop team concepts regardless of man or woman."

And reader Rick Tischler, in turn, responded to Beth's commentary:

"Beth, the comments in this article do not pertain solely to men.  Traits such as teamwork, flexibility, communication, perseverance and the ability to think outside the box apply to anyone that has the ability to serve as a productive and effective leader."

As always, send comments and thoughts to