2009/08/13

Serious Post – Read Carefully – Wherein I Get Political

DaGoddess @ 03:13

I rarely get political on the blog these days because, frankly, my focus is elsewhere most of the time and I tend to rant and rave about politics on blogs where the writing is good and the commentary lively. That said, I cannot avoid this subject because it hits too close to home. This could very well determine my future regardless of what a board of insurers, doctors, lawyers, and a judge say I can do about my nursing career. While that illustrious panel may claim I’m fit to return to full duty because I’m miraculously healed as plotted and planned out by some California insurance lackey on a piece of paper, the simple truth is, if we go with this proposed happy fun healthcare for all, I will not return to providing patient care. And below, I explain why.

One nursing magazine poll asked the simple question: “Do you support healthcare reform in the U.S.?”

Here’s how it’s shakin’ out:
44% No
31% Yes
24% I don’t know enough about the President’s plans

In other forums, polls are definitely more decisive. One forum asked: “Based on the language presented in the packet posted to this forum (beginning to end of the proposal in all its glory), do you support the President’s plan for healthcare reform?”

The results:
93% No
4% Yes
3% Unsure — I’d like to have this put in simple language for us to better understand.

Another forum asked: “Watch the video of the President’s speech on healthcare reform. Now, are you for or against his plan?”

86% Against (with many citing in comments that the plan leaves doctors and nurses vulnerable to many lawsuits because the new plan will effectively tie their hands and limit the care they can give)
12% For (citing something has to be done! But they don’t know if this is the best idea, they just know it’s the only idea on the table at the moment.)
2% Unsure based on the double speak and lack of clarity when it comes to providing protection for those giving healthcare to patients.

Without tort reform, healthcare providers will be stuck in a precarious situation. I’ve heard from plenty of doctors and nurses by now to know that we’re going to lose some very skilled practitioners if these plans are put into place. Those who “opt out” will be fined for doing so and pay a premium to continue practicing and they will be limited in the amount of time they can spend in a hospital for surgery or testing, limiting the level of care we give and receive. The other option is to switch to outpatient surgical facilities that may be inadequately set up for the severity of procedures and outcomes.

This is something everyone should really consider.

Ask your doctors, nurses, and everyone who works at the clinic where you receive care how they feel about the President’s new plan. Tell them you really want to be informed so you can ask your congressperson to either support or fight the plan. Be informed! Don’t ask a politician. Don’t ask your family, but do consider their medical needs. Ask the people who provide your care.

And remember, while the AMA has said it’s behind the plan, the AMA only represents 15% of doctors practicing in the U.S. They definitely don’t have their finger on the pulse of what the vast majority of our physicians face or what they believe needs to be done.

Please notice, during my several paragraphs, I called no one names, impugned no one, and stuck to the facts as reported in polls taken in nursing forums, read the hundreds of conversations about the plan, read the plan myself, and discussed it with people with whom I have worked, professionals I trust, those I turn to for my own care, for the care of my family members. It is with a very heavy heart that I say “I’ll never nurse under this proposed system” and neither should any other nurse.

It’s a bold statement with serious reprecussions for everyone in this country. But it’s bad medicine, folks. It’s the sort of thing that can kill us. I’m not exaggerating for big hits. I’m not playing this up for the sake of drama. I’m telling you what this means for you, for me, for all of us from the perspective of someone who would have to deliver the care they’re proposing. I could not look myself in the mirror each morning and then go to work to sit around twiddling my thumbs instead of doing everything in my power to provide you or your family with the care you need and deserve. That is not in keeping with the oath I took. And because of that, I could lose my license and any money I would earn from such a job.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Especially not here.

Educate yourselves, my friends. PLEASE! Don’t read some “fact” site. Don’t read one party or the other’s websites. Find the exact proposed plan and read it carefully. Talk to doctors and nurses and aides and anyone else you can find in the doctor’s office. Do it. It could mean the difference between life and death for you or a loved one if we don’t seriously overhaul this proposal.

As it stands, it’s a disaster for everyone. There aren’t nearly enough real doctors and nurses involved to get this thing in working order right now. We should not EVER rush to rebuild a system that is currently working (as far as the delivery of care…not the insurance side) well. The insurance issue is something entirely different and that must be restructured, but not hastily. None of this should be done hastily. And none of it should be done without every care provider getting involved and making sure it’s done right. As it stands now, it’s not being done right. Let’s put the brakes on this thing and start over, doing it the right way.

Nursing is about giving proper, educated care, not hasty and inadequate care. We took an oath. Yes, we did. And any care provider will not give anything less than what we vowed to provide.

Signed,
Da Goddess, Registered Nurse

13 Comments

  1. Forgive me, but I wondered why you weren’t speaking up, coming from such a unique perspective.

    Thank you for this! :thumbs:

    Comment by Pam — 2009/08/13 @ 05:10

  2. “Read the proposed plan”

    That’s more than the Congressional majority or the President are doing. The ones who have read any of the plan are the most vehemently opposed.

    People in favor of the plan or who want to read it also forget how the Congress and Senate work together. Each house will pass a bill with different wording and a conference committee of fewer than a dozen people will sit down and produce a common text. At that point in the past, hundreds of changes can and have been made to bills that have been passed. Typically both houses then pass the revised bill unread.

    We’ve been fooled before and supporters of this bill will be fooled or fool us again.

    Comment by Lloyd — 2009/08/13 @ 08:29

  3. thank you so much for your insight on this matter. if these morons in congress pass this bill, we all are in for some deep shi*…

    Comment by Mike D. — 2009/08/13 @ 08:59

  4. Here here!

    Comment by rob sama — 2009/08/13 @ 10:19

  5. I had to say something, especially after reading the latest poll. The more nurses who are taking the time to read this and not rely on political affiliation are finally realizing what a raw deal we’re getting.

    When a huge group of people who have no idea what goes into educating healthcare workers and what it takes to provide quality care to our patients tries to tell us how to do our jobs, or tries to limit our ability to do our jobs, it’s serious stuff. I don’t take this sort of stuff lightly. Nor should you.

    NO ONE without a degree in the healthcare field — doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, anestheticians, etc. — has any business dictating how that care should be delivered.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/08/13 @ 12:10

  6. Another point that many people do not understand is that if we go with a government plan we can no longer sue anyone but the doctors, and other medical professionals themselves. We will not be given the option to sue the government insurers for refusing needed care or testing, because we are banned by law from sueing the government unless of course they give us permission to… So the doctors will be left unable to administer some of the tests, procedures, meds, etc they feel are necessary for adequate and appropriate care, yet will be left liable for negative outcomes — How many medical professionals will stay in the business under those conditions? Not nearly enough my friends.

    How do we get medical costs under control? Tort reform.

    Comment by patti — 2009/08/13 @ 16:27

  7. Exactly, Patti. And it’s this very point that will continue to cause people to leave healthcare. No one can assume that sort of liability, nor have the negative repercussions of inadequate care follow them forever.

    I don’t understand the discounting of proper medical care. It’s a matter of life and death…why hand it over to someone without a medical degree, without a nursing degree, without the proper knowledge to make such decisions? It’s like going to Price Club or Walmart for a pacemaker installation. Who wants that?

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/08/13 @ 16:36

  8. wonderful post… thank you!

    Comment by vw bug — 2009/08/14 @ 12:17

  9. i bow to your personal experience and knowledge.

    Ever since one incident I’ve never been able to get the idea out of my head that fear of malpractice is somewhat overblown. It was related to a proposed referendum at the time.

    The scale of who was there is important to the rest. In a fairly small town in Arizona, about 30,000 people i covered a conference where doctors from all specialties got together to talk about best ways to get their message out about how malpractice lawsuits were and would kill their practices.

    Amid ever-increasing gloom and doom stories about how the insurance costs were claiming their livelihoods and that the number of doctors would plummet in Arizona there was something much more revealing to me.

    Amid all this talk, and during the break especially, they all stood in groups and talked. Being the wandering journalist I was (paint me with your stereotype if you want) i walked around and listened. After playing the woes me game – you know how you might in a grant application, worst foot forward – one doctor was talking about his fifth vacation of the year, another was talking about his car collection. As in real cars, not Hot Wheels. Another talked about their vacation home. And another was talking about his latest acquisition, some Babe Ruth baseball – for about $40,000.

    This was a small group, again of physicians from just the Phoenix Metro area. In many specialties.

    Paperwork sucks anywhere. It takes away some of the excitement of the job, too be sure. It sure sounded to me, however, like these people had money to spend to hire people.

    Because it’s what I saw and recored, i put some of that in the article as well. A couple of them called, unhappy.

    Disagree, i won’t be offended – and I’m not wedded to the idea of universal healthcare either. But every time the malpractice trope comes up, i think of this and think there’s a lot of middle ground that could be found if enough people sought it. But true bipartisan compromise is no longer American Democracy in action.

    Comment by Temple Stark — 2009/08/15 @ 18:45

  10. The reality of healthcare is that most doctors do not have lots of fancy cars nor do they take multiple vacations, T. Most spend many years paying off student loans, working at hospitals where they are paid less than the administrative execs (the level at which we really need to cut some salaries!), or working for a physicians’ group that barely breaks even.

    However, the doctors who do make a lot of money…it does come with a price. They do have higher malpractice insurance rates. They do have to take the punches that come their way because of the money they make. They don’t, however, get reimbursed at a higher rate than other doctors. Those rates are across the board level.

    Now, regarding their fees: are they really any different than any other business in which anyone can place whatever value they want on their services? Why do national reporters get paid more than local reporters? Why do some photographers garner $10,000 for wedding coverage and some only get $1,000? It’s perceived value on both the part of those who charge and those who purchase these services.

    The docs who charge big fees aren’t killing healthcare. Not even close. What’s killing healthcare are those who think they can come in and equalize it without having a clue as to what really goes into becoming a doctor or a nurse, what it takes to manage multiple patients properly, what’s needed as far as medication — and managing all the medications prescribed by multiple doctors for multiple problems — or even how to administer medications.

    It’s an insult to every single care provider to be told that “we” are the problem and need to have our delivery system overhauled. It’s not the delivery system that’s broken…it’s insurance and the perception of coverage. Regardless of whether or not you have insurance in this country, you can still walk into any hospital and receive treatment. They may not see you for six hours or more, but if your case is not emergent, that’s how it goes. Discounted or “equal” treatment will not improve those waiting room times. It’ll only increase them because there will be fewer doctors and nurses to go around.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/08/15 @ 19:09

  11. You’re exactly right,divine Ms.J – now is not the time to rely on anyone else. Read what’s in the bill, don’t be blinded by party affiliation or cult of personality, and make an informed decision. Anything else is a terrible abrogation of responsibility. I have lived under and used both the Canadian and American health care systems. The Canadian system is close to collapse – and as the budget cuts loom, decisions about what will be offered to whom loom large.

    Need a hip replacement – sure, we can get you one in about 18 months, more or less. What? You’re in excruciating pain and immobile? Well, you could always go out of the country and get it done tomorrow, as long as you pay for it yourself. Problem solved – you get a new hip, and Canada gets out of paying for your health care. Have a critically ill baby? Well, hopefully you live next to a US border crossing, just in case there are no beds available in Canada. Sound far fetched? It happens ALL. THE TIME. Having a heart attack? – hopefully your ambulance doesn’t get stopped at the border while trying to make it to a CCU that will take you.

    As one of the conservatice political bloggers here in Canada is fond of saying – Free. Health. Care. – 3 lies in one.

    Comment by Neal — 2009/08/15 @ 19:10

  12. Now, there’s a voice of experience from the North! Thanks for weighing in, Neal. People don’t believe me when I tell them my nurse friends from Canada prefer what we have here because it’s immediate and it’s quality care.

    Comment by DaGoddess — 2009/08/15 @ 19:20

  13. […] read THIS well-reasoned and thoroughly thought out post about healthcare reform and why this attempt should […]

    Pingback by VeryTAS | Reality Is » Death to Heathcare Reform, Short Timers — 2009/08/15 @ 21:06

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