Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Emergency Conference Call

Emergency conference calls are never a good thing.

Today I had to rearrange my schedule for an hour long conference call. Since most of the people who work in the occupational health department of the hospital are out in businesses, a conference call is a fairly good way to let us all know what's going on.

So here's what's going on. The hospital is WAY over budget. Positions are being eliminated and hours are being cut. Occupational health was less affected than most departments, but we lost one part-time medical assistant, and the office manager got cut back to part-time.

Fortunately the other nurses in the department and I generate tangible revenue. Unfortunately, in the hospital setting, nurses don't generate tangible revenue. No where on your hospital bill is there a line item for nursing care. So, guess which people have had their hours reduced or their job eliminated?

People get irate when they get their hospital bill. Five dollars for a Tylenol! Twenty dollars for an IV catheter! I'm being ripped off! So, they complain. In order to maintain patient satisfaction, the hospital absorbs a lot of those costs.

Well guess what? You are not only paying for the Tylenol. You are paying for a nurse to verify the doctors orders, confirm that you aren't allergic to Tylenol, bring you the Tylenol and assess the outcome of you taking the Tylenol.

You are not just paying for the IV catheter. You are paying for the nurse to put the IV catheter in, keep the catheter patent, administer drugs through the IV, assess the site for infection and infiltration, and disconnect the IV catheter.

Nurses do the majority of patient care in the hospital but they don't get to bill for their services. Maybe hospitals should start to bill per hour for nursing care. Just a thought.....

4 comments:

Janet Miles said...

... You are not just paying for the IV catheter. You are paying for the nurse to put the IV catheter in, keep the catheter patent, administer drugs through the IV, assess the site for infection and infiltration, and disconnect the IV catheter.

That hadn't occurred to me, and it should have. Thank you.

Rick C said...

Hm. Maybe they should put a labor charge for nurses, then. When I get my car worked on, there's a labor charge itemized. It'd take some getting used to.

jojo said...

I hear you Dixie. I've been a Biomed tech for 25 years, and I must say we've come a long way from patient care first to the bottom line.....and it quite frankly makes me sick. (Also, my wife is a nurse, so I know about the woes of that too). It's too bad that we must show a return on investment to justify additional equipment or staff to maintain or improve patient care/outcomes. It seems to me that the backbone of healthcare (nursing and support staff) has had to bear more of the load over the years, and is in danger of at least burnout, if not total collapse. Do more with less is the motto.......well, to take that to its logical conclusion I must say that maybe if we all stayed home, then everything would get done with maximum productivity. Healthcare is not about healthcare any more.

Anonymous said...

I think you have one helluva an idea. I work in large animal agriculture and know what drugs cost. ringers solution is ringers solution is---you get my point. When one of my children were born I insisted the the hospital cut the bill about 25% due to being chrged $50.00 bucks for something I paid $2.50 for, from the same vendor with the same concentration and strength.I would not have questioned $XXX dollars for nursing services. In my defense, we were charged exorbitantly for pre-labor and delivery. My wife was crowning in the car and never saw a pre-labor room. Youngins birth certificate is probably wrong as to time. The delivery room called to make sure she was actually admitted before wrting down a time.