I recently made a trip to the doctor. He’s my new doctor and considerably younger than my previous doctor who retired last summer. I had expected some changes. The nurse who worked with my doctor had decided to retire as well, so there was only one familiar face when I arrived. She had been the records keeper previously but was now using her nursing skills. As she took my blood pressure I commented on the changes I had already observed.
“What happened to that wall of record files?” I asked. “The shelves are all empty. Does the new doctor have my records?”
She went on to explain how they would be using more technology now. The wall of records had been sent to Memphis (or somewhere like that) to be scanned and uploaded on computers. She assured me that 3 backup discs had been made and were being housed in different places across the country. If records are destroyed in a fire or other disaster in one place, there would still be two more places to get access. The paper files had been shredded.
It bothered me for a couple of seconds to think the paper files had been destroyed, but then she showed me the image of my previous record visit and it was clearly just as easy to read as the original. After I got over my initial hesitation, I decided that it made a lot of sense. My records can be easily accessed by a doctor no matter where I am when I need one.
“That’s pretty cool,” I said. “Is that part of that new healthcare law?”
“Yes,” she shook her head. “It’s tied to it.”
Since then I have read an article about how the healthcare law is creating jobs. It was posted November 31, 2011. Here’s an excerpt and a link back:
Even as cutbacks in Medicaid and other programs gouge hospital budgets, and overall health care demand slackens as penny-pitching patients put off procedures in a bad economy, hospitals are creating new jobs: a net gain of 95,000 this year, 13,000 of them in September and 6,600 in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In fact, the health care sector is not only the nation’s top job generator, but it’s also one of the few major industries producing new jobs at all. Of the 80,000 net new U.S. jobs created in October, 12,000 of them were in health care — hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, labs, home health care agencies and nursing homes all are creating net new jobs. Over the past 12 months, health care has created 20 percent of all new jobs.
What’s up? The new jobs appear to be driven not by patient demand as much as a general restructuring of the health care industry that includes changes mandated by the 2010 federal health care law, the 2009 federal stimulus funding, new government regulations and increasing use of information technology. Strong anecdotal evidence — hospital job listings, interviews with health care employers, analysis by health care economists — indicates the attention now is on hiring clerks and administrators.
The article goes on to explain that:
” the health law and the jobs that come with it could be jeopardized in 2012 if the Supreme Court rules against the law or Republicans take the White House. The Republican presidential candidates are competing over who would kill the law fastest……Also vulnerable: at least $20 billion in federal funds to help doctors and others upgrade computer and communications technology for electronic health records.”
Now I am just as worried about the debt as anyone. I know that you can’t spend what you don’t have unless you’re willing to pay it back with interest. That gets expensive either way you look at it. Yet, I also know it takes money to start a business or to improve on what is already there.
My eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Parsons, was fond of saying, “Now, class, it’s okay. Calm down. Don’t panic.” I wish there had been a Mrs. Parsons back in 2009 to help the country out. Someone needed to remind us to just calm down and not panic. I think this thing so many feared may have been a rouse by insurance companies and other folks who had their own motives for getting everyone worked up. People are smart. They know that panic is often our first reflex to change and, when it serves their purpose, is a wonderful tool to use against us. I’m still learning about the law and the changes it will bring to our healthcare system. So far it looks a lot better to me than I was first lead to believe.
- Ask the Honorable John Roberts – The Supreme Court to Allow live TV Coverage of the “Health Care Case” on C-SPAN (ynative77.wordpress.com)
- 2.5 Million More Young Adults Have Coverage Thanks to Health Law (whitehouse.gov)
- The Health Reform Law in 2012: Changes Keep Coming (analysiswithaltitude.org)