An OpEd by Meg Helgert, FNP
This seems a bit of an oxymoron right? Healing of Health Care. Yet this entire system has changed in the 40 years I’ve been involved within its borders. I must say the EMS system has improved as people involved in automobile accidents now have a fighting chance because of the care they receive immediately at the scene. Technology has improved by leaps and bounds in preventing illness and repairing injuries. Medication are targeting health problems that have improved health since penicillin gained recognition in 1928. We have regulatory boards monitoring professional. We have hospitals with the latest in technology and state of the art in intensive care and neonatal intensive care.
So having mentioned all these positive aspects involved in 21st century health care what is the problem?
There is another layer that has developed right along with all the health care innovations and this is the administrative layer and insurance layer. This layer of combined elements is responsible for many of the great strides in building and developing facilities across the country; brick and mortar and the theme of care along with the luxury and perks seen in many hospital lobbies. Music playing in the elevators and classic lighting in the hallways. Think about it. The decision-making and priority-setting that comes from this layer is not based on clinical expertise.
This is what is so disturbing about the great lengths this layer will go to increase patients using their facility. It’s a brand, name recognition. This all comes at a price which is embedded in health care premiums. This group alone has brought health care into the 21st century in terms of the iconic approach it uses to lure famous physicians to use their facilities; highlighting the latest technology and state of the art facilities.
The price paid for this along the way is that the true meaning of care has been lost in the glare of the bright lights and stardom and fanfare.
Health care is not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination. It can have awful outcomes; gut wrenching consequences and unhappy endings. And sadly, this administrative layer and insurance layer has proven to be the most destructive and expensive part of the health care industry. People are set up to be expecting outcomes that may never develop because of the nature of illness and injury; this layer makes promises or at best statements that make for unrealistic beliefs and outcomes. And keep in mind, this layer of health care; administration and insurance operate based on cost instead of what is safe and practical for health care.
Understaffing to cut costs is the single most destructive policy that healthcare organizations have embraced.
The sacrificial lamb presented in closed door board rooms is staffing for the sake of their investors. Staffing is the largest of health dollars spent so administrators want to curb it.