Hidden Treasure

For you formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother's womb. Psalms 139:13

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What is the greatest crisis facing our health care system?

You may say pharma-companies dictating treatments. Or by far the cost of any health care coverage. In a nutshell, this is to me the greatest crisis:

"For safety-net hospitals, maintaining a balance between serving the poor and staying financially viable has always been tough, say the authors of a national study, "but it is becoming even more so in a marketplace that is becoming more competitive and profit-driven." Some are attempting to attract insured patients by building, renovating, and advertising specialty services, according to the study. But these and other steps to bolster the bottom line could threaten the hospitals' mission, the study warns."

Are Dr's offices and clinics and hospitals "allowed" to make profits? Why even ask this question when other service providers, as in a waitress or hairdresser not only gets paid but also a tip on the side. Yet, most Americans when asked, object to physicians and clinics and hospitals making a profit. When you consider the money they have spent to woo you, the patient, into their place of service, they have to recover that somewhere. For a health care institute to make a profit-that doesn't bother me.

But here is where we need to assess where the line gets drawn. What if helping the poor and indigent infringes on that profit? Do you decline serving them? Do you offer minimal care to prevent a loss in profit? Or do you turn them away with the exception of life saving procedures?

It depends on if you view health care as a service or a business. If you look at it from a coat and tie aspect only, you will most likely offer minimal treatment and maintain the profit margin. If you look at it from a sympathetic view, profit won't matter because this person holds value just as the dollar does.

In corporate America, the line is being changed everyday and what should be Basic Humanity 101-treat all mankind fairly regardless of race, color, financial status or insurance coverage-has become a decision made for financial reasons only. Health care providers claim they are taking it on the chin, but lets get real. It's the poor in urban America that take the greatest hit. Trying to get quality health care is becoming a joke. And a joke, at that, where most institutions can control the punchline. No one, ever, should have to go without quality health care.

Hey, if nothing else, take all this money dedicated to research and put it to use today to cover procedures for those that can't afford it. Instant gratification. Isn't that what we are about? Help someone today instead of running some bogus research that never helped in the end. How much money has been donated for cancer research and honestly, has it found one cure? We should be focused on prevention instead of treatment and we wouldn't need all of that research. (But, oops! That's impossible since the cancer industry is a money maker.)

I don't believe I speak of a Utopian system when I ask American health care providers to consider the poor when it's a choice between service or profit. Or has that become obsolete already?


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