IHA remains focused on the key hospital provisions surrounding health care reform, but with the continuous news coverage about hot tempers at Congressional town hall forums and hospitals being major hubs for the provision of health care, IHA also maintains a vested interest in the topic of health care reform as a whole.
In recent weeks, as members of Congress have been addressing health care reform with their constituents many have erupted in a fury of misleading information and the emergence of new scare-tactics and buzz phrases like “death panels” that attempt to stall, stymie or completely derail progress on health care reform legislation. Some members of Congress are even participating in this misinformation campaign by handing out partisan propaganda and making claims that the House bill contains a provision that gives the government authority to “pull the plug on grandma.” (see previous IHA post on this subject)
Though the impact of these raucous town-halls remains to be seen, it certainly has caught the attention of the media and has started a public relations nightmare for Congress and the White House (that went so far as to launch its own “reality check” Web site).
Although much of the negative comments being said at these forums do not relate to specific hospital provisions in the bills/proposals, and a good debate is one that encourages multiple viewpoints, it’s also important to separate fact from fanatic.
There are many resources available on the Web that help to sort out the issues. The Kaiser Family Foundation has an entire Web site dedicated to health reform as does the Commonwealth Fund. There is also the aptly titled Factcheck.org that also has well researched answers to many of the health care reform questions, issues and myths.
It’s important to remember that health care is a complicated topic and cannot be explained or, for that matter, reformed in a few short sentences. It’s a major undertaking and requires a lengthy, but intelligent, debate.
As Mark Twain said, “it is wiser to find out than to suppose,” and that’s as true about health care reform as it is about anything from the overall concept down to the smallest details. Those that rely on misinformation will only help to create health care reform that is ineffective at best and damaging at worst. The more responsible approach includes getting the facts straight and working together to find solutions to make positive reforms that will improve how health care is delivered, how coverage is obtained and how it will all be paid for.
A lot of hospitals are entering the social media space, including hospitals in Iowa. IHA is working diligently to bring best practices and examples to our hospitals, but there are also great resources out there from other groups as well.
One such resource, being provided by HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society), is an upcoming webinar that will teach participants about how M.D. Anderson Cancer Center created its new Web strategy and presence.
Part of the discussion will focus on the transformation M.D. Anderson made from a managing a largely information-oriented Web site to a focus on customer interaction and transactional capabilities.
August 20, 2009
1-2 p.m. CST
- Identify the key drivers, business objectives and business value of a new Web strategy.
- Describe the process for developing the new strategy and business case.
- Describe the type of services and technology solutions planned for the revamped Web presence.
- Alan Powell, Director, Internet Services, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
- Sue Sutton, RN, PhD, President/CEO, Tower Strategies
- John Foster,Vice President of Business Value Services & Healthcare Business Development, Oracle
There is no cost to attend this webinar.
One of the uglier and most misleading statements to come out of the debates over health care reform has been the contention that the current House bill would enact a “death panel” that would decide who would and would not receive health care. Others have said the bill requires Medicare recipients to receive end-of-life counseling that will encourage assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Such ridiculous accusations would be laughable if the issue of end-of-life care was not so serious and misunderstood.
What the bill actually does is, for the first time, authorize Medicare to pay physicians when they provide end-of-life counseling at the request of a Medicare patient.
Along with health care providers, consumer organizations and groups representing senior citizens support this provision because it will encourage people to think and do something about end-of-life care, like drafting a living will or issuing a durable power of attorney. By bringing physicians into the discussion and process, it’s more likely that a patient’s wishes will be respected.
Advance directives – living wills and durable power of attorney – are important to hospitals because they can determine the course of care for a seriously ill or injured patient. To help patients, their families and their physicians, IHA has joined with the Iowa Medical Society and Iowa State Bar Association to distribute brochures on advance directives to hospitals across the state.
In fact, hospitals are required by the federal government to ask adult patients if they have advance directives and to provide assistance in drafting advance directives if a patient desires. That requirement was created under federal law nearly 20 years ago.
As IHA continues to trek across the state doing hospital celebrations, our staff is meeting and talking with hospital employees, bringing to light what a career in health care is like. In talking to these individuals, viewers get a chance to hear from someone in the field, doing their job every day.
This video is from the hospital celebration last month in Atlantic where IHA sat down with Kathy Bucher, Medical Laboratory Technician at Cass County Memorial Hospital, to talk about her job as a lab tech.
Bucher explained why she became interested in becoming a lab tech, what she felt was most rewarding about her job and some advice for others considering a similar career.
(Video link for RSS subscribers)
Have a question about lab technicians? Ask away!
If you have a question for Kathy or about medical lab techs in general, use the comment section below to ask. We’ll do our best to find answers to what you want to know.
In the midst of all the complex ideas, lengthy discussions and heated debates swirling around health care these days, a wedding ceremony reminds us that like life, health care and the work of hospitals never stop.
The wedding took place on July 28 in Carroll. It was a small, simple ceremony held in an unusual place – St. Anthony Regional Hospital. It was small because it was really meant for just one person – the bride’s mother, Vickie Rattenborg, who lives near Ralston. It was at the hospital because Mrs. Rattenborg was in the final stages of a long battle with colon cancer.
It was simple because Mrs. Rattenborg’s only daughter had only one wish – for her mother to attend her wedding. That was easy enough. Arrangements were made for all the right people – bride, groom, families and the local magistrate – to be at the hospital at the same time.
But the staff at St. Anthony’s wanted to provide more than space, so they created a chapel out of the hospital’s third-floor atrium, complete with flowers and wedding decorations.
Mrs. Rattenborg’s husband, Rodney, told the Carroll Daily Times Herald that he was “exceptionally grateful for the compassion of so many St. Anthony Regional Hospital employees who made the impromptu wedding meaningful.”
It’s notable that the employees who made this happen were primarily from the hospital’s business office. That fact underscores how the community-based mission permeates Iowa’s hospitals, how all staff – from nurses and physicians to housekeepers and maintenance technicians – are ready to step up and make a difference in people’s lives.
It doesn’t always make the newspapers and it’s rarely mentioned by policymakers, but this kind of thing goes on at hospitals every day. Because life goes on, and life demands real care and true compassion.
By the way, Mrs. Rattenborg passed away on August 3.