I was reading a forum about the medical care crisis and came across this anonymous post. I've read similar thoughts from those who work in ERs/hospitals, but found this one to be the best and clarify what we Americans are facing sooner than most care to realize.
There's something no one has realized about emergency rooms. My husband works in one, not going to say what he does there, in a small city in Oregon. They've actually been seeing less people since the economy went to hell, since more and more people don't have insurance and so can't come in for every stupid little thing.
On the other hand, the people who do come in, finally, are much, much sicker than they used to be. In our hospital, ER numbers are off by 30%, but ICU admits are up by at least 25%.
What most people don't realize is that if you present yourself to the ER they *have* to see you. And if you're that kind of sick they *have* to admit you, at least until you're stable. Even if you can't pay, and regardless of the potential cost of your care. It does not take many unemployed heart attack/stroke victims to start the tap running funds right out the door.
Another ongoing cost in the ER are the drug seekers. Many of them have learned that complaining of chest pain will get them to the head of the line. It will also get them a courtesy pack of narcotics, as complaints that "they didn't treat my pain" is a quick way to get your accreditation in trouble. Many of them turn around and sell, making calls to meet dealers from the parking lot, even where the staff can hear. But chest pain workups are expensive....
Right now revenues are so down that our ER is in the middle of lay-offs (and it's a non-profit hospital BTW). My husband would not be surprised if they had to close the ER in another 5 years.
Now, current federal law states that any hospital accepting federal funds MUST treat every one who come claiming an emergency, no questions asked. So, how to get around that? Simple, stop taking Medicare patients. Which isn't going to be a problem, since Medicare only pays about 1/3 of the bill. the hospital has to eat the rest. And they take months to pay, debating every charge.
Between Medicare and the ER, eventually the hospital is just going to have to close. Or at least close to everyone without insurance, because they simply cannot afford to keep giving away care. The other hospital in town has already laid off 400 staff and has closed half of all its units. Including the only drug rehab in town, it's nursing home unit, and it's MRI/CT center. And the other hospital that group owns, the only one in the next town over, may very well close by the end of the year. Because they can't afford to pay their staff.
It's just crazy.
Today I may go with Sherry & Wendell to find a used riding lawnmower. They have offered to do my lawncare if I provide a mower/weed-eater, and frankly, I'm thinking I may just do that. Tired of paying a small fortune for that every summer, and we're ALREADY in mowing season which tends to last from early spring to late fall here in the South.
Otherwise, a gorgeous clear mild spring day. Want to get outside and enjoy it. May take my bike to the lakeside park and ride.
Looks like spring showers all this week, off and on. Can't complain because truly the pollen is everywhere and at least showers keep it washed away. And that makes my allergies less difficult.