Recently I had several disturbing experiences with Doctors, Clinics, various healthcare employees, and Hospitals.
For years I have gone to the same heart doctor, taken tests at the same clinic, and went to the same Emergency Room affiliated with the MD and Hospital Clinic. Times have changed and healthcare has changed. I need to consider making some changes myself.
Recently a great deal was made about name changes of several local hospitals.
- St Thomas Hospital is now St Thomas West
- Baptist Hospital is now St Thomas Midtown
- Middle Tennessee Medical Center is now St Thomas Rutherford
Do the name changes improve the health care we receive? I think not.
The harsh fact is that the health care situation is changing all around us but I have failed to notice and I changed nothing.
What has happened recently?
- A major Medical Center is firing 1000 healthcare workers. Does firing 1000 healthcare providers and replacing them with temporary contract employees improve the healthcare we receive? I think not.
- St Thomas Hospital administrators, Baptist Hospital administrators, and MTMC Murfreesboro administrators all now report to a St Louis Hqtrs.
- Replacement central management is located in St Louis, MO , Ascension Health, now runs the show while also managing 69 other hospitals, they now also manage all three St Thomas facilities. Should this improve the healthcare I receive? I think not.
- I waited 8 1/2 hours for treatment when I was recently taken to an Emergency Room by ambulance.
My recent experiences suggests that Emergency room practices at Saint Thomas facilities are no longer decided by doctors and nurses on site but rather by standardized “Standing Orders” most likely issued by lawyers and administrators. Are they followed for primarily legal reasons rather than that they are necessarily the best medical practices?
I am disturbed that many hospital and clinic employees walk around with their ID badges reversed so we can see neither their name nor the credentials of the person who is involved in procedures or testing. “Is the person a nurse, a technician, a clerk? Are the people working in their area of expertise and training, or are they doing on-the-job training outside the area in which they have been trained?”
I have recently gone through two tests which I had done several times before. In both cases the so-called technicians had difficulty in skillfully performing routine procedures like inserting an IV (he was more concerned about wiping the blood soaked chair arm rather than stopping the blood flow poring from a vein in my arm) or performing an ultrasound test (after much fumbling she found it necessary to call for a nurse to help her complete the procedure).
A major medical center can’t possibly function with 1000 less healthcare providers so their clear intention is to replace them with temporary, contract employees thus saving the cost of benefits packages for the original employees along with paying less for contract employees.
I have a lot of interaction with various health providers and their organizations. I am sometimes aware that they suggest behavior on my part that only makes their jobs easier and benefits their organization rather than improving my health. My hard earned experience suggests some actions I can take about the healthcare I receive.:
- Don’t blindly follow a doctors referral to another specialist. Most practices have a website that identifies each doctor and their education, training, and special expertise/interest. Check them out and pick a MD that most closely matches your need and ask for a referral to that doctor.
- Have your doctor thoroughly describe every new drug he prescribes and exactly why he is prescribing it to you. What are the plusses and minuses and side effects.
- During any testing and hospital stay do not eat any drug or allow anything to be put into your body before they tell you what the substance is, what it’s for, and what the dosage is.
- Read the nametag for every person involved in the delivery of healthcare to you for their name and exactly what their credential is.
- If someone seems to be having difficulty with any procedure, ask them what the problem is and if perhaps they need to call for help.
- In serious situations, a second opinion regarding diagnosis and treatment is always a good thing.
- I cannot ignore the most important fact that it is my body and my health and I have to accept some personal responsibility for the healthcare I receive.