Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once Upon a Time, (in a land not so far away), Doctors actually ran Hospitals!

Health care is under attack--- and nowhere as much as in our hospitals themselves. Every doctor and every nurse knows the horror stories.

One hospital CEO fires the hospital's entire veteran anesthesia staff, despite urgent pleas by chief surgeons. Why? Because he got a lower bid, from strangers.

Piling it on, the new anesthesia provider announces there will be no off day after call--- so, after being up all night, an anesthetist is supposed to work through the next day keeping patients alive, with alertness and perfect vigilance?

The result? The best anesthetists leave--- they are in great demand everywhere. And back at the hospital, the new provider takes over. Promises aren't met, surgeons quit, anesthetists quit, and O.R. performance is never the same again. And it's all swept under the rug.

Another hospital CEO announces that nurses will no longer receive overtime pay, despite a crushing workload, so the best nurses quit. This, despite a critical shortage of nurses.

Another hospital CEO fires his anesthesia staff of over 70 members, resulting in closing of the cardiac surgical unit. Why? Not performance, their performance was outstanding.

The CEO turned his hospital upside-down, because he got a low bid--- an offer from a felon, it's discovered later, a felon using an address in Texas, which turns out to be a BBQ joint in a strip mall. And the CEO goes for it.

Would a doctor have checked deeper? We think a doctor would have cared far more about quality of care.

How can this craziness be happening? It's going on through the USA, in hospital after hospital. Because they are no longer run by doctors.

The businessmen, who know zero about medicine, have taken over medicine. And they are doing whatever it takes--- to turn the centers for healing into fat cash cows.

The patients have no clue who is determining their fates. The patients enter the hospital, and they still see doctors. The patients still believe that the doctors are in cotrol of all issues regarding patient health.

But it wasn't always like this. In fact, businessmen controlling medicine is a very recent development.

Yes, once upon a time, doctors ran hospitals. Back in the olden days. And what were those days like, when doctors mandated health care based on patient care, not profit?

Medical practices were dictated by medical training, not by business training. Patient care was mandated by the Hippocratic oath, not by the bottom line for investors.

Sure, nurses wore starched white uniforms, too, not scrubs. And most every doctor and nurse was normal weight. Arcane, huh?

Let's think about this. Could it be that the problem with health care isn't that the care itself cost too much--- could it be that the real problem is that the businessmen have a stranglehold on treatment, to squeeze maximum profit dollars out of every procedure, every patient?
Could the corporate bottom line be the real culprit responsible for higher health care costs, and lower quality of care?

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