Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don't ruin our health care with billion dollar cuts

I am amazed at the lack of press Governor Spitzer's health care reform plan is getting. He plans to cut 1 billion dollars from our existing hospital system this year. There will be communities without a hospital emergency room within 20 miles. These are not small towns and hamlets, but are medium size cities. Is there no advisor for the governor that is aware of the looming heath care demand that is on the horizon?

Every 60 seconds a baby boomer turns 60. These 60 year old Americans are just the tip of the iceberg and they demand more from the health care system than did their parents. Boomers go to the doctor more than any other group previously. They do not grow old with grace, but look for ways to grow old without pain and disease. The demand on hospitals for care is going to increase dramatically in the next 10 years. The emergency rooms today are at full capacity much of the time. As an former EMT I can attest to the record amount of times they are closed because they have reached capacity. The health care system and hospitals need more money to prepare for the boomers, not less. The governor's cuts on a system already in a financial crunch will be devastating. They are already reeling from lower medicare payments, high equipment cost and insurance increases to mention a few items. Let us not forget the talent that will have to relocate because they are out of work. Doctors, nurses, and medical specialist from all fields will be displaced. New York cannot not afford to lose this talent.

Governor you know one big reason health care is so expensive is tort law. Doctors and health care facilities are forced to run procedures that would not normally be done to cover for law suits. Reforming tort law would dramatically reduce costs for heath care facilities. I have heard no mention of why health costs are high or no mention of tort law reform as it relates to this issue. There are probably other reforms that could be implemented saving millions. We don't know because we are not given enough information.

Where is the press on this issue? This issue should be front page every week until it is resolved.
I can think of very few issues that will impact society as a whole as a devastating cut in health care. Step up Post-Standard and news agencies in New York. Investigate and inform. Give the public the facts on both sides so we can address the issue with knowledge. The only support for the cuts I have seen is a boys choir singing alleluia. Give me a break. Give me the facts!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

911 Emergency... Hold Please!

Imagine your house is on fire! You get everyone out and dial 911. The operator or a message puts you on hold. You watch the flames eat at your house as the seconds tick away. You are still on hold 45 seconds later and you know that help has not been dispatched. Your heart is pounding, your mind is racing and the anxiety is intolerable . Oh my God no one is coming yet and I am on hold. Do you continue to hold??? Ill bet the answer is no for most people. You try again!
Today's paper says that this is what we should expect if we call 911 according to John Balloni commissioner of 911 center. " There is no way any 911 center can staff enough people to handle all the calls that come in" he said. WHAT!!! We do not have enough people in the 911 center to handle the everyday volume of emergency calls. I don't recall Onondaga County telling us when they wanted to build the system, that it would not be able to handle the emergency calls coming into it. I think we may have questioned the expense. Could any other organization that receives tax money get away with this performance without government intervention? This comment begs the question what happens if there is a county wide emergency like a tornado or worse. Would the hold time be hours??? Time is important in fires, but in a medical emergency it is critical. A one or two minute delay can cost a life.
The answer Mr. Balloni gave indicates he thinks its not a fixable problem but the norm for the center. I would ask Mr. Balloni if we have enough dispatchers on staff to fill all the shifts he schedules. Does the center have the capacity to handle more calls if more staff were on. I would think so, because he states supervisors help when things back up. Obviously to the lay person it looks like scheduling more people would help. The management team at the center must think out of the box to solve this problem. The county and City of Syracuse should be investigating this situation to help solve the problems.
As a citizen I don't have expertise with the call center and how they presently function day to day. I do know as a citizen if its broke I expect someone to be working on fixing it. I also expect Mr Balloni that if I ever need 911, being put on hold would not be acceptable to me. It should not be acceptable to you as a public employee. I hope the Syracuse newspaper follows up on this problem and holds people accountable for fixing the problem. It is truly could be a matter of life or death if it is not resolved.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Syracuse's NCAA Snub

Last nights NCAA bids brought shock,anger,disappointment, and confusion to Syracuse fans all over the country. How could a 22-10 record not get a bid. Syracuse posted a 10-6 record in the Big East, which is one of the toughest conferences in the country. The reason can only be something else. It could be the coach. I believe Boeheim is not well liked or respected by some in the decision process and his peers. He never seems to get the respect from his peers that a coach with his record deserves. Whenever you hear a commentator talk about Boeheim they usually use the ya-but form of speech. For example: Ya he's got a great record, BUT......... Another good example was when he won the National championship. Ya Boeheim coached the national championship team, BUT it really was Carmello who won it. Jim Boeheim has been the Syracuse basketball coach for 31 years. He has given Syracuse a national title and many exciting moments on the court, but time takes its toll. This year there were games where he seemed to have lost his vigor and quit coaching. Maybe its time to move on Jim! Prove you can coach anywhere and silence the ya-but boys. Change is good and I believe both you and Syracuse Basketball could benefit from it.
That being said Syracuse was snubbed and no matter what the reason it is inexcusable.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Is Government better today??

The morning news shows are over and one has to wonder again if this government is so divided and incompetent that it has become dysfunctional. The Libby trial was a public lynching for a crime not committed. He was convicted on one count for obstructing justice for something not illegal. Even the jury thought this was a scam of a trial, but we spent millions to get back at the President. Now the congress wants to set deadlines for an Iraq pullout. The Democrats cant even decide on a time line between themselves, let alone come up with a comprehensive plan for leaving. The Republicans have all headed for the bunker or become quasi Democrats since the election. The senate which was typically through history a fairly reasonable body has begun a melt down. The quality of the people we are sending to Washington has degraded at an alarming rate in the past two decades, from the President down. I am to the point I don't care about Republicans or Democrats, just give me an intelligent reasonable representative who puts the people and the country first. What a breath of fresh air that would be.Yes my Sunday is now complete. Once again our elected officials were interviewed on the programs today and convinced me that we should be allowed as voters to have a do-over when the situation warrants it. The congress women form California could not even make a coherent argument for her position on Fox News. At one point she confused herself trying to make a point. Reagan would say is your government better today than it was 10 years ago??? I don't know many people who would say yes. I know my answer would be do-over with them all.