Health Care for All
July 31, 2015
Yes, we can allow anyone to open an urgent care facility which has minimal overhead compared to hospital emergency rooms. Why not? Let all the easy¬ to care ¬for patients give their money to the businessmen who would take “profits” from the hospital, and put them into their own pockets.
We could even allow giant drug chains to open competing stores right next to each other with a third just around the corner (Oh my, I think we have done that in Rutland). The profit a hospital charges for an aspirin is not really profit. The hospital must provide hotel¬ like care for the patient around the clock. Food, linens and housekeeping, plus provide all the newest, hig=¬tech instruments of diagnosis and care, while paying three shifts of employees’ wages which allow them to support themselves and their families. Urgent care facilities do a good job, but as they take patients away from the ER the hospital is forced to cut the numbers of staff on the job, while the cost of the facility remains to be paid for. When two cars collide, there may be four or five injured persons who go to the ER, not the urgent care facility. The ER must be staffed to be able to handle the accident. That money comes, in part, from an overpriced aspirin. When there is an adverse occurrence at a free standing surgery center, the patient is rushed to the hospital. No one would open a surgery center unless it was near enough to a hospital to back it up. I was an owner of a surgery center and I saw this need first hand.
What this country needs is real planning of medical care. Universal Health Care, where all the facilities are there, one to serve the other and all to serve the people, all the people. What we need is planning, at all levels of our society, so that duplication based on the profit motive does not cost more in the end, as excess profits are taken from the pockets of the consumer for the wealth of the provider. Free enterprise is good, but I believe there is no room for it in health care, if we are to provide for the health of all of us, at the highest level.
LEONARD A. ZIVITZ, MD