Monday, December 20, 2010

No Patient Left Behind

Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, No Child Left Behind, Health Care Accountability - gosh, our ruling class gives us so many wonderful things!

I started working as a nurse in 1979. At the time, it was a fairly good job. The pay was about equal with other blue collar jobs, like factory work and construction.

Then the attack on unions started, and out-sourcing blue-collar jobs began. In the meantime, medical care became big business.

So, now we have nursing paying more than other blue collar jobs, what there are left of them.

What is to be done?

For a few years now, there has been a concerted effort to get more young people educated as nurses. Articles in the corporate media, "news reports" on TV, advertisements everywhere, even Jon Stewart had a segment on the "need for nurses".

And, as we've been flooded with eager new nurses, ready to work for almost half our pay, we older nurses have been increasingly threatened with being fired. My old supervisor told me that she was under a lot of pressure from her immediate boss to get rid of her experienced nurses and hire new grads. She was resistant, arguing that an ER should be run by people who know what they're doing, but they made her life so miserable that she quit.

Now we are told that the new "health care" Act calls for cuts in Medicare to hospitals which don't perform up to standards.

Well, who could be against that? It's like children not learning in school. Surely we want good health care, just like we want our children educated.

How's that No Child Left Behind thing working out for you? Is all our children learning now? (As Bush would say).

That's what is coming with hospital care. They are going to base Medicare pay, on which most hospitals depend, on core measures.

Some of them are worthwhile, like making sure that heart attack victims get aspirin promptly, and making sure that people with pneumonia get antibiotics.

But there also is a Press Ganey part. There is a corporation that mails out cards to patients and asks them to rate their care on a 1-5 scale. Then they grade the hospitals on a curve, based on the responses.

So, just like schools are continually expected to improve their scores ( a mathematical impossibility), hospitals which fall below others will have their funds cut off.

And hospitals can turn around and blame their nursing staff for the problem, laying off whomever they choose. (Hmmm, I wonder who that will be?)

More and more hospitals will close, lowering the cost of medical care, since more and more people will go without.

And nursing wages will be forced down to every other blue collar worker's wages, just a couple of decades after the rest.


charlie ehlen said...

The ruling powers are trying very hard to make AMerica into a third world country.
As to those blue collar jobs, many have been off shored and are lost forever. I know that they are importing nurses from other countries and claiming there is a "shortage" of nurses here so they "need" to import them.
It is all a giant scam.

wagelaborer said...

You got that right, Charlie.

The whole point is to make labor cheaper, in order to increase profits.

Eventually, of course, there will be no profits, since no one will be able to afford to buy anything.

And yes, the whole "nursing shortage" is a scam.

David G. said...

By exporting jobs offshore to make mega-profits or importing cheap goos, the Corporate Barons have shot themselves in both feet because the numbers of Americans who can buy the goods and services has declined and will continue to do so!

Greed has created its own reward but it's not the oligarchs who will pay the price: it's the little people.

As usual.

Flimsy Sanity said...

I read once that the doctors that most often get sued are the ones with lousy personalities. Bet the patients will grade for smiles rather than competence. All my life, I heard about third world and first world, and only found out now that Russia was considered second world. Now, I think we and Russia are second world, northern Europe is first world and China is coming up the backstretch.

k-dog said...

Don't you know you just have to give the wisdom of the markets time said the fool.

WAGELABORER here is a documentary I know you'll want to see.

Our Brand is Crisis

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that the cop that said the Arizona shootings were the result of so much anger is getting so much hate mail that his computer crashed. Comedy just writes itself.

ProgressorConserve said...

The corporate beancounter mentality is going to finish screwing up medical care - just as it has screwed up many of the worthwhile aspects of American life.

And then there's Wisconsin, public employee unions participating in their own demise.

Come back to CFN - we need your input, Wage.