American medicine is in a state of crisis because of Obamacare

April 01, 2013

A new report by the National Patient Safety Foundation published in the AMA News found that health care workers are toiling in hazardous environments where they are subjected to physical and verbal abuse from colleagues and exposed to relentless stress generated by administrative greed.

The push to see more patients in less time has placed doctors and nurses at breaking point. Many are burning out and losing the joy inherent in practicing a humane profession. The patient-doctor relationship has been decimated with insurers and the government playing doctor in lieu of health-care providers.

In premier hospitals, health-care workers on the morning shift get to work at 7 a.m. or earlier. They perform their tasks like robots, the human touch lost because of the many redundant administrative requirements that must be satisfied before leaving, which often occurs well past the time specified in their contracts. The computers gets more attention from doctors and nurses than the patients do.

The injury rate for health-care workers, according to the study, was 5.6 per 100 full-time employees, a full 33 percent more than in private industry. A hospital is one of the most dangerous places in the country to work, and health care workers are routinely exposed to blood-borne pathogens and preventable injuries.

Doctors in training suffer the most. The leaders and teachers in medicine have no time to impart knowledge to young doctors. Where they should be guiding, nurturing and helping doctors in training become well rounded, caring individuals, they are instead pushing them like tyrants, ordering them to complete rote insurance and billing tasks to ensure payments to hospitals will not be impeded.

Those in health care who are driven by the profit motive are ensuring the fall of American medicine. The Sun recently published an article by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is already saving Americans money while improving care. Ms. Sebelius is either out of touch with reality or she does not understand what the Affordable Care Act has wrought. The health care act should be more appropriately called The Unaffordable Care Act.

With the current brutal climate in medicine I am not surprised that Ms. Sebelius stoops to disseminating falsehoods. Successive U.S. administrations are relying on the power of euphemisms to pull the wool over the American public's eyes.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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