Warning sign

When you entire a hospital, there should be a bright, yellow caution sign that says “Enter at Your Own Risk” and for those who think I’m exaggerating, I assure you I’m not. My concerns are real and they should be yours as well.

In my city, there are only two healthcare systems in town in addition to the VA system which reduces the competition and thus, the level of quality care. I was a patient at one of those hospitals and ended up on CNN because of the outrageous bill that I received. A few days ago, the Orlando Sentinel reported that one of those hospitals is cutting their staff by 20% and the night shift nurses’ salaries by 15% as a result of a bogus program called “Value Creation.” The announcement was made while the CEO, who earns over a million-dollars-a- year frolicked in the sun at a Caribbean resort with her family compliments of one of the hospital suppliers. Isn’t that a conflict of interest by the way?
Night-shift nurses work under trying conditions because they don’t have the level of support that occurs during the day shift. They work at night because the additional money helps a single mother take care of her family; or a nurse to go to school; or eliminate the need for a babysitter because the mother is allowed to stay home with her kids during the day time.

In addition to cutting back the nurses’ salaries, the hospital plans to eliminate pharmacists, respiratory therapists and increase the price of cafeteria food by 20%. Why am I scared to enter this hospital? Because the night shift will be short of nurses if I happened to be admitted at night. There will be fewer pharmacists to prepare medication in the event of an emergency. The staff morale will be low and the quality of care will be diminished which results in more medical mistakes.

A hospital is no longer a place of healing. It’s a business. And that’s a shame.