Writog? A writer-photographer. Citizen journalist. Unless indicated otherwise all content, text and images, here at www.writog.com (C) Copyright 2006 - 2017 Luke T. Bush

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Writog: writer-photographer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Caring For Profit

According to a newspaper editorial there is no reason why a private company couldn't provide the same quality of health services that a governmental agency gives to its citizens.

Yeah, right.

The problem: rising costs and taxes.

Case in point: Home health care services provided by the Clinton County Health Department.

The answer: privatization?

Not according to some home health care workers who were demonstrating outside the Clinton County Government Building Wednesday evening. Of course, they're worried about losing their jobs but at the same time they raise other issues such as continuing the same level of care.

At the website page for the Clinton County Home Health Care Program there's this statement:

"Sometimes we all need a little help...whether you or a family member have a chronic or acute illness, are in need of physical therapy, suffered an injury due to an accident, or are in need of understanding nutrition and your health."

It's explained that visiting workers can provide a range of services including Nurses, Home Health Aides, and Medical Social Workers.

The demonstrators outside the county building questioned whether a private company could provide the same quality of care while trying to maintain a profit. HCR Home Care of Rochester wants to purchase the license from the county for the home health care program. The county employees say that to hold its profit margin HCR might cut those services that don't pay enough or cut back on the frequency of visits. This could mean that some clients would have to use local hospital emergency rooms for treatment or even be forced to move into a institutional setting, losing the freedom of living at home. The public would end up paying anyway, the costs just transferred elsewhere.

I don't know about HCR, maybe it can deliver. The newspaper editor states it has a good reputation. But I'm bothered by an editorial that claims there is no reason to think that a private company wouldn't provide the same service as a governmental agency. Oh, there's reasons.

You have to be careful when someone claims he'll save you money. Back in the 1990s an "expert" named Jeffery Skilling said deregulation of California's energy market would save the state billions of dollars a year. Jeffery worked for a little company named Enron. (Gee, what happened to that company? Well, California saved billions, didn't it? Just like Jeffery predicted, California was able to triple its police force in four of its major cities and double the number of teachers.)

Don't forget the controversy over some types of Health Management Organizations. These HMO's keep costs down under "capitation." A doctor is given so much money for each patient and whatever isn't spent, he keeps. Fewer treatments and referrals results in more money in his pocket.

And what money is saved under that system can mean a rise in patient suffering and early deaths.

Health and quality of life shouldn't be based on profit.

It should be based on real caring.


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