The Honest Broker: The Death of Healthcare

The Honest Broker: The Death of Healthcare

BY:  DIANE LOTT, RN, BSN, BROKER

My subject this week is not going to be as a Broker concerning real estate but as a former registered nurse working in hospitals, and as a nursing educator for 35 years. Although I have not been in the trenches for some time, I am a consumer of healthcare along with every other American. I can’t exactly put my finger on when healthcare turned from a compassionate “calling” to ease suffering into a big callous business that treats the people it’s supposed to serve with utter disdain and indifference.  This didn’t just begin. This has been a slow, insidious process that is multifaceted.  It appears to have started when physicians sold their practices to managed care businesses, private hospitals sold out to conglomerates who treat their employees horribly which in turn created an apathetic staff and insurance companies began refusing care based on billing the wrong “codes”. 

First, the advent of “electronic medical records” took the caregiver’s attention to a computer keyboard and screen instead of the patient. This was supposed to be beneficial to the patient by keeping records online for information sharing from doctor to doctor or hospital to hospital.  The problem that occurred is that not all hospitals, doctors or caregivers use the same computer software system.  Information sharing is limited to the computer program that a particular hospital system uses. So, a patient can be seen in 2 different hospitals and neither hospital can access the others information. This puts the patient back to square one with providing a historical synopsis of care and results to their caregivers. 

Secondly, the more frequent use of “virtual” visits with our health professionals reduces the more personal aspects of a person’s care to the same plane as “Facetiming” your mechanic.  It has become extremely impersonal and the whole time that your doctor is talking to you, all you see is the side of his/her face as they type.  The patient is supposed to take their own weight, blood pressure and pulse and report what they got to the nurse that calls 5 minutes before the doctor.

Thirdly, if you happen to win the lotto and get into an actual office while you have a problem that isn’t just a “maintenance visit”, the chances that you will see your doctor are slim to none. Most likely, the person you see is a Nurse Practitioner (NP)  or a “paraprofessional”, namely a Physician’s/Medical Assistant. Now, I don’t have anything against either one of them.  My husband happens to be a Nurse Practitioner, but I don’t want to see someone on the “second team”. I would like to be taken care of by someone that has attended medical school, residency, and possibly performed an internship, namely a doctor.  Good luck with that one, though.

Now onto the next item on why there is a “decline of healthcare”.  The patient has been removed so far from their own health professional by numerous layers.

They must call a “call center” now instead of their personal doctor’s office. Chances are that this will take numerous attempts before they get a human on the line and they were successful in maneuvering the phone system after hearing the prompts; press “1” for this, or press “2” for that. Hopefully there are family members willing and able to help the older patient with the basics of even making an appointment in the first place. If a mistake or change must be made, then the process has got to be undertaken all over again. Gone are the days that you could call your doctor and hear an old familiar voice that recognized who you are and would accommodate you without much ado.

Lastly, the care received in hospitals these days is bordering on being criminal. From apathetic staff, nurses, and “hospitalists” (don’t even get me started on this) who don’t know who you are, your history, medications, family, or anything else about you. It’s sad to hear that people in our very own communities would rather die at home than go to the local hospital to be “shelved” in a hallway, or room like a can of peas; receive no daily hygiene care (offered a bath, linen, or water); place their call light on for hours without it being answered and request that family members bring them Tylenol on their next visit.

My own family members have received other patients’ medications but didn’t take them because they had enough sense to ask questions, refuse treatments or tests that they knew were only to “pad” the bill. There is a “Patient Bill of Rights”….ask for it upon admission and make sure that you have a surrogate. Informed consent means that they need to explain the procedure in full detail; the good, bad and ugly.  Don’t just go with the suggestion it is needed, ASK QUESTIONS!!!

Diane Lott, RN, BSN

Diane

Diane Lott, Broker

Owner: Paradise Found Realty

*The highest compliment you can give is when you feel you can refer a friend…
  Hope to see them soon!

Paradise Found Realty, Inc. of Palm City

website:  www.ParadiseFoundRealtyFl.com

Email:  diane@paradisefoundrealtyfl.com

Phone:  954-294-5060

Your concierge real estate company. We come to you!!   

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