RTs Should Put the "Care" Back in Health Care
Every day, I get up, have coffee, and read all seventeen of the newspapers that are emailed to me. Yes, I am a nerd, and proud of it. One story has stuck in my mind as something that America is trying to keep swept under the rug: health care. I am no economist, and I do not have the mind to fix all of America's problems, but some, like this one, need a champion.
There is little argument that health care is expensive. Prices vary, but for as much as we pay, our return is terrible. We put band aids on our "system" hoping for quick fixes. We cut budgets of agencies who are most affected and of demographic groups who can least afford it. A nation that sent a man to the moon, invented the cotton gin, and had two guys come together in a garage and invent the modern version of a home computer cannot come up with a health care system that works? Really?
The World Health Organization ranks the United States 37th in health care. We are behind countries you may have never heard of: Andorra, Oman, and Cyprus. We waste time bickering over "Obamacare" and its constitutionality. I am not a politician but I do not shy away from political issues. For me, here is the bottom line: if 50 people were without health care, I would say life is bad for those 50. But when 50 million are without it, that is a different story. Out of the nearly 313 million people living here, why do we find it acceptable that 16 percent are without health care? In a country so rich in resources, talent, and education, people sell their cars and houses to pay their medical bills, or just go into bankruptcy. People blast Obamacare on legal grounds, yet the only other person with a health care plan that seems valid has "Romneycare" which, if you read it, sounds an awful lot like Obamacare.
In my opinion, ignoring a problem seldom makes it go away. The United States needs to move from a broken system we currently use to a system that puts the "care" back in health care. Every time I give a patient a treatment, every hour I spend checking a ventilator, every screening I do for asthma is adding to the national debt. On the first of June, that debt was $15,724,907,364,995. I think the politicans are doing OK running the debt up without my help. Still, people need my services, sometimes to stay alive. We should be conscious of what we do and what it costs to do it. Do not let doctors order treatments that do not make sense. Use less expensive alternatives when possible. Take responsibility for delivering quality care at affordable prices, like nearly every hospital mission statement says. Since no one else will address health care costs, let respiratory care make a start and, at least for our own patients, make a difference.
That's just my opinion,
Jim Thacker, MHA, CRT, AE-C