This article in the WSJ was pretty amazing. Without a subscription you probably can’t get to it so I will highlight some important points. My comments in parentheses.
- Health systems have kept a tight rein on employee numbers and expanded outpatient care, helping their finances but making them less prepared for a medical crisis (yeah, no shit).
- The Phoenix-based nonprofit hospital system, Banner Health, relentlessly focused on costs. It trimmed labor, the largest expense for any hospital. The result was a financial powerhouse with $6.2 billion in cash and investments and a bond rating that is the envy of corporate financial officers. (Money made on the back of their skeleton crew of docs and nurses. Disgusting,)
- As Arizona’s count of Covid-19 cases began to rise by 1,000 a day, Banner’s hospitals filled with very sick patients needing one-on-one help from critical-care nurses. There weren’t enough. (Hmmm, wonder why?)
- “They are not the ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ charitable institutions that hospitals once were back in the 19th century,” said Martin Gaynor , an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studies the health industry. “These are big businesses.” (And that is the problem.)
I highly recommend you read the rest but the bottom line is that doctors and nurses are chess pieces in a game they aren’t even allowed to play. Hospitals are trying to replace doctors with nondoctors while cutting nurses to the bare minimum. Why? Because they are bleeding money? No. See their profits noted above. And they want you to feel bad for them, and bail them out, when a crisis like COVID hits?
I don’t think so.