We’re Drowing and You’re All Coming With Us

TO: Patients.
FROM: Health care workers.
HELP!!

We are drowning in rules and regulations; unfunded mandates and contradictory requirements. How can we take care of you when you – via our government – make it impossible?

Start with something that should be simple. When a doctor or nurse tries to get a State license, a complex expensive time-consuming process begins requiring verifications back to college, checking every hospital where you have ever been on staff, and filling out innumerable forms. The cost in time and money, multiplied by every doctor or nurse, is in hundreds of millions a year. Every time we go to a new State we have to repeat the process. Is diabetes or asthma different in Massachusetts than California?

HIPAA is the latest regulatory fiasco, the proverbial 800-pound gorilla or hippo as I called it. Intended first to protect our medical insurance (it doesn’t), it morphed into an effective obstacle to information sharing all in the name of confidentiality. It costs a fortune; creates a huge, expensive bureaucracy; generates hassle and frustration; impedes communication; increases errors; encourages lawsuits; with absolutely no evidence of a problem in the first place and no proof that it works now.

We are expected to provide good care despite government-created conundrums. What should we do when HIPAA says we must not read medical information before FAXing it while the Patriot Act requires that we read it? Why am I prohibited from emailing my consultation letters while the referring doctor complains that she does not get timely feedback?

It is the accepted standard that your doctor or nurse makes evidence-based decisions and bears the consequences of bad outcomes. Managers and regulators affect patients at least as much as doctors and nurses. They are not required to have evidence before deciding, nor feedback (with teeth) after they make decisions? Why are they held to a lower standard?

You know we have worsening shortages of both nurses and doctors. Who in their right mind would work in a field where the whole system makes your professional life impossible?

I could go on and on. Look up Government Accounting Office Report (GAO-04-637). It shows that even when the Federal Government passes reasonable legislation – UMRA, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act – Congress does not follow the rules that it created. Look at the rules governing medical malpractice and ask if this system helps or even protects you.

HELP!  Save your drowning healthcare workers, for your own sakes.

System MD

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24 comments ↓

#1 We’re Drowning And Your Coming With Us — Medical Malprocess on 10.25.09 at 4:07 am

[...] are drowning in government-created contradictions. What should we do when HIPAA says we must NOT read medical [...]

#2 Accept No Substitutes – A Pre-election Interlude — Medical Malprocess on 10.29.09 at 7:52 pm

[...] culture in healthcare; built-in inefficiencies, and the bloated, unnecessary and counter-productive regulatory bureaucracy. Changing the money flow without fixing these other problems is like rearranging deckchairs on the [...]

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