Posts Tagged ‘hospital’

That’s my money belt

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Some folks work hard and are poor anyway, not indigent, but, damn close and if any kind of physical anomaly befalls them they quickly become indigent.   Some of these people are alcoholics or drug abusers and some are just unlucky.

A dumptruck driver with a swollen ankle, went to a local free clinic and was given a prescription to get an x-ray and have an orthopedic surgeon look at it at the county hospital ER.  He had no way of getting to the hospital to get this done.  His ankle was swollen, broken or sprained; couldn’t drive his dumptruck, and he had no insurance.  He was that dreaded self-pay that never pays and is therefore turned away in non-emergent situations.  He became a resident of the Salvation Army house.   Orthopedic surgeons don’t fix people who don’t have insurance unless they have a lot of cash up front.  Free clinics can only do so much.

What are the essential requirements of an American life? Food, shelter, clothing, clean water, good health and an education.   Some of us think that access to health care is as essential as access to clean drinking water.  Some do not.













Those who are opposed to the Affordable Care Act which is a big step in providing health care to a wider range of Americans  seem to be concerned about the cost to them personally. “The more money we make the more they take.”   Who are they?

What are they doing with my money after they take it?  Isn’t that what we all piss and moan about?  What is this going to cost me?   A health care system that provides quality services for citizens is an acceptable and essential place for our money to go.  Health care and the health of this planet is more important than killing people in other countries.

The dumptruck driver could get back in his truck after his ankle was fixed and be a productive tax-paying citizen again.  How is that bad for you?


the one with the fanciest horse?

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

“Rich people give poor people jobs. Plain and simple. With out rich people, poor people won’t have jobs. See all the liberals want the government to take away all the rich peoples money, but don’t ever give any of there own.” This is a quote from an apparent Republican to his liberal facebook friend.

When did this happen?  The rich paying for the poor?  Define poor.  Do you think the richest Indian was the one with the fanciest horse?  Or was the bravest Indian the one with the fanciest horse?

I was extremely impressed with a Missouri gentleman that built our kayak from strips of wood.  He explained the procedure and that his boats would withstand some of the wildest rivers in Missouri and Arkansas.  It took about 4 months for it to be completed and now it is a gorgeous lightweight kayak that is durable, usable art .  I suppose some of the glues, and paints may have had Chinese roots or came from a factory owned by a wealthy corporation, but, for the most part our beloved vessel was handmade by an American. He had a home, a car, a workshop, diabetes and a smoking habit.   He made his own way in his own shop living a free American life that many of us might envy.

Insurance would have been impossible for him to obtain if it hadn’t been for medicare.  He qualified for socialized medicine because he lived long enough too.  Prior to that I think he plucked chickens in a factory or something like that so he would be insured. Why is our society set up like this? Because the guys that own the chicken factories don’t want us to be free.  If we are free and don’t need the insurance they provide, we may leave and start an organic chicken farm that would compete with them.  We would be poor, but, we would be free and insured.

“Another word for freedom is nothing left to lose”  I so miss the days when everything I owned fit in my car and I traveled about, working at random restaurants, taking ballet classes and teaching ballet classes.  I never broke a body part or had a kidney stone or appendicitis.  I never thought about healthcare or health insurance.  If I had needed healthcare back in those days I would have been financially screwed.  I guess I was poor, but, I didn’t feel poor, I felt  free.

Life happened.  Husband, kids, and a job that provided health insurance for us all.  There went my freedom.  I don’t think it should have to be that way.  I think we should be able to make things, grow things, be brave and ride a fine horse.  I think we should have the choice to be free and at the same time be responsible.  I don’t think providing healthcare for all is the rich paying for the poor.  I think it is all of us pitching in for all of us.

Check and Balance

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


I was in a conversation with a physician I work with the other night at the hospital.  He described me as “uber liberal” and decided I needed to be reformed and informed.  He started printing up things for me to read from his Fox network.

This Physician is very very afraid of our government running anything.  On the other hand,  if you leave the government out of our lives then you end up with a place — well —  Haiti is a graphic example of a  weak government.  Us worker bees need to be protected.  We are the ones out here in the trenches doing the work.  We don’t mind, we’re happy and have amazing respect for our founding fathers’ plan for checks and balances and equal rights.  They were a bit hypocritical about equal rights, writing and signing the constitution while their slaves tended to their farms, but, their ultimate plan was ingenious.



The Physician and I are an example of check and balance.  His check is the need to be compensated for all the patients he fights hard to save.  Many of them are self abusers, over-eaters, smokers, alcoholics, prescription drug abusers.  They vary from uninsured, medicaid, Medicare as well as the insured.  Some try to sue him for an anomaly that is most often a result of their own self abuse.  The litigation involved is extremely expensive and is driving up healthcare costs.  Tort reform is his primary concern to improve our health care system.   I definitely get his point and I also am angry at the folks making a living out of being sick.




My balance is the waitress with a kidney stone, the restaurant owner with chest pain, the guy that builds kayaks by hand with diabetes, the lady with a shop full of locally made art.   To them insurance is a gamble; those without are gambling they won’t need it,  those with individual insurance pay dearly for a catastrophic plan.  How can we remain innovative Americans if we can’t leave Wal-mart to try our hand at Tilapia farming or growing bamboo or opening a breakfast joint.  We aren’t really free as long as we are locked in to a job because we need the insurance?

So why can’t we come up with a plan that protects both the Physician and meOr is that what they are trying to do and we’re too busy getting angry watching Fox or MSNBC to realize it?

no money to be made

Monday, November 30th, 2009

health business cartoon

What angers me is the minds that sit around figuring out ways to make money off of our misfortunes.  There are boardrooms full of people trying to figure out how to pocket some cash.  I call them clipboard carriers.  Administrators are rewarded for making money rather than  for providing amazing results for the health of a community.  I worked with an occupational therapist who was so inspiring to me and others as we watched her bring smiles to the depressed and life to those ready to give up.  She was let go because she didn’t generate enough income for the little rural hospital.  Hospitals are not factories.  They don’t have assembly lines.  Hospitals are full of real people with real problems and sometimes fixing those problems just doesn’t make anyone any money.

Dr. William D. wrote a blog that made me think,  then again maybe they are factories?…

“. . . the life of the pig has moved out of view; when’s the last time you saw a pig in person? Meat comes from the grocery store, where it is cut and packaged to look as little like parts of animals as possible. The disappearance of animals from our lives has opened a space in which there’s no reality check on the sentiment or the brutality. . .”

The same disconnect has occurred in healthcare for the heart. The emotional distance thrust between the hospital-employed primary care physician, the procedure-driven cardiologist, the crammed-into-a-niche electrophysiologist (heart rhythm specialist) or cardiothoracic surgeon whose principal concerns are procedures—with an eye always towards litigation risk—mimics factory farms that now litter the landscape of the Midwest. The hospitals and doctors who deliver the process see us less as human beings and more as the next profit opportunity.

The “factory hospital” has allowed the subjugation of humans into the service of procedural volume, all in the name of fattening revenues. Never mind that people are not (usually) killed outright but subjected to a succession of life-disrupting procedures over many years. But whether livestock in a factory farm or humans in a factory hospital, the net result to the people controlling the process is identical: increased profits.

The system doesn’t grow to meet market demand, but to grow profits. The myth that allows this growth is perpetuated by the participants who stand to gain from that growth.

See hospitals for what they are: businesses. Despite most hospitals retaining “Saint” in their name, there is no longer anything saintly or charitable about these commercial operations. They are every bit as profit-seeking as GE, Enron, or Mobil.

I think most of us really do care about people and their individual health.  We just need to care less about profits.


leaving the chicken factory town

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

poultry workersCan you imagine living in rural America almost your entire life and then someone knocks on your door and tells you you have to go live in Guatemala.  My friend (I’ll call her Maria) and co-worker had that very thing happen to her.  She grew up in a small southern town after her mother came here from Guatemala to work in a chicken factory.  The chicken factory paid for her mother to come here with her two kids, Maria and her little brother.

Ok, so Maria grows up, goes to school, graduates and gets a job in a hospital while trying to put herself through nursing school.  She falls in love with the wrong man and has two children. (it happens)  Going to school is even more difficult, so she just concentrates on working to provide for her little ones and buys a house and a car and pays taxes on all of it.

Now, I think I need to add, that I had no idea that Maria wasn’t American, she looks American, talks American and puts ketchup on her french fries and ranch dressing on her salad.

The hospital loves her because she is able to wear many hats.  Nurses aide, unit secretary and pharmaceutical tech as well as Spanish language  interpreter.  When the hospital finds out that they are going to lose their beloved Maria, they write letters, and raise money and call Senators and Congressman.  None of this seems to help.  Lawyers have taken her money and the Senators and Congressmen say they can’t interfere with the deportation “process”.  The hospital has lost a wonderful employee and a wonderful, kind person.  I lost my Spanish teacher.

Maria told me she didn’t even know where Guatemala was and we looked it up on the internet.  I exclaimed, Guatemala is beautiful!  Why would you want to stay in a chicken factory town when you could live on the beach?  She said, “because this is my home, I’ve never been anywhere else.”  So many American kids would give anything to get out of their chicken factory towns.  But — would they really give anything? pier Antiqua

So I guess my idea is.  Why don’t we go to Guatemala and open hospitals and resorts  so Maria will want to live there  and she won’t even miss the chicken factory town.   Americans will be able to work in the chicken factory instead of Maria’s mother.  Maria will be working at a posh American resort in Guatemala on the beach and we can have our chicken factory jobs back.  Then everyone is happy right?

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