Will It Ever End?

There is a letter in the paper this week from a Dr.R M Wood in which he attempts to save us from ourselves again,as have countless others before him. How REALLY interested in us is he? He starts his letter like this. "Parting words for the Medical Center. My summer visits to Block Island have come to an end".That certainly sounds to me as if he has NO intentions of coming here again except maybe in the winter. So of course on the way out the door he takes a few "artfully created" parting shots at the people who live and work here. Apparently he feels that no one should be paid anything more than the minimum wage to do any job, be it menial or one that takes a great deal of skill. Where does he get the idea of a 'severence package'? There is none as far as a couple of the board members know. Just another unsubstantiated stab in the back. "This present system provides several, (1) "highly paid" administrator(s), (actually less than other people in the town who do similar work),with full benefit packages to do these tasks". His words. Oh yes he mentions free housing for the administrator, but "artfully neglects" to mention that housing is free to one physician, as has been the case for fifty ears or more and was part of the lure to get and hold a doctor. No problem there. The other, gets a $22k subsidy over and above salary to help pay for their housing.
Does anyone recall what has been going on in the town finance office since all or most of the billing and collection was "outsourced". Of course it is ALWAYS smarter and more cost efficient to pay someone else to do the job even when qualified people are already on board and able to do the job.
I was glad to hear that the only difference between a doctor and a hair stylist, is a Nurse and a different supply list. Maybe I'll go to the Beachcomber next time I get sick and see what happens.
I wonder if Dr. Wood has any clue as to why the Med Ctr was set up as it was in the very beginning? There must have been some very good and compelling reasons. Look into that please sir before you advocate ripping apart, what has served the people of this town, and thousands of visitors for a very long time.
Now, all this advice on how to conduct the day to day business of the Med Ctr. which sees between twenty and fifty people a day, (conservative est. I think) is freely given by a Doctor who's practice is for the most part limited to incontinence in the fair sex, and who sees approx. eight patients a day, or so I am told by an, "un-named but realiable" source.So I personally would not put much stock in all the allegations and or fixes advocated by this particular person. Go to the meetings and find out, "What's going on up there" and why.


Sam said...

Hey Everett, you stay after 'em! People might think that was a wee bit strong, but that's what web logs (blogs) are all about - a journal of sorts. Do I see a hint of Voltaire, and maybe a smattering of Mark Twain in there? These two "literary" folks (they would take great offense to that if alive today) didn't mince words and called 'em like they saw 'em. And hey, if I have problems would it be "incontinence of the unfair sex?" *laughs*

Kind regards,

CDR Bob said...

Everett, Having just read the letter on-line, I have to admit, I tend to agree with Dr.Wood. I think he makes some very valid points. My father was a doctor for over 50 years. (you may have heard of him as Doc. Honan from Spring St.). He didn't have a Nurse or a Secretary (except for my Mom) nor a billing specialist (he did it himself sometimes with the help of Mom). He delivered over 6,000 babies not including the home deliveries. He was 83 years old when he retired. He sent seven of us through college.

My point is he did it by himself and didn't need all the people that the Med Ctr apparently needs. Maybe the Med Ctr board should look at those recommendations. I am not saying get rid of the board, sure they are needed for a Doctor search and settling in the Doctor but from there they should let the Doctor handle the rest or the one Nurse and not the mess they have there now.

Anonymous said...

As a patient who uses the medical center a half dozen times a year or more, I have to say Mr. Wood is wrong. They have a secretary on duty during business hours, a nurse and one doctor for most of the year. Either I have been very misfortunate in my timing, or losing the secretary would be a very bad idea. I would guess that my average wait time before being seen at the medical center, with an appointment is one hour, usually more.
The one doctor on duty, even with the help of a very competent nurse, is unable, when I am there, to keep up with the flow of patients as is.
I am unsure what the administrator does, but it seems Monty Stover plays an important role at the medical center. He has been there longer than everyone but Linda Closter and Mary D.
I am unsure where Mr. Wood gets his numbers. He would be hard pressed to find a payroll company in Rhode Island to handle a bi-weekly payroll for $25 a period, and file quarterly tax reports.
I also think he would be hard pressed to find an accountant to do all of the taxes for $2000 a year.
(If he does, I'd like their number.)

I don't see how the doctors, who can hardly handle their patient load, who work in 24/7 shifts every other week (?) can be expected to do billing, and handle the complex health insurance paper work along with writing charts, following up on pateints, and handling traumas and regular patients.

As far as I can see, the biggest problem at the medical center right now, is the fact that we are losing a wonderful doctor in Dr. Baute. Whatever it was that caused him to resign should be investigated, and fixed. I think we are fooling ourselves to think we can find another doctor as qualified, and capable as him, for the salary he accepted, and for whom housing will not be an issue.

Maybe the board has gotten too comfortable, maybe certain members flexed too much muscle when compromise would have been the better route.

I think the mistake that Dr. Wood, and Cmdr. Bob are making is that they haven't witnessed firsthand the daily operations of the medical center. If they had had to wait an hour or more to see a doctor (on tiny little Block Island mind you), they would see that cutting office personell, would hinder the efficiency of the center. If they had to work the hours expected of the doctors, who are on call day and night. Who get more patients and phone calls then I think anyone suspects, they would see that dumping more work on them would lead to burn out, and a higher turnover rate than what we have seen in the last 10 years.

Everett said...

A-MEN to the above post! You NEVER can go into the Med Ctr. and see the staffers sitting around drinking coffee with their feet up chewing the fat. They are ALL moving and doing from 9-5 ANYWAY, and LInda is usually there well before that! Ask anyone who needs blood drawn for that particular day! Respectfully, this ain't the 60s, 70s, or 80s anymore. TIFN

Anonymous said...

Ev, I hear what you are saying but I think that you'd have to agree that the organization is a little top heavy with lots of housing allowances etc. going to people who don't provide health care.

For example, why does the administrator have a one or more year contract? This is nuts. The health care industry is laying off many good people and we would have no problem getting 100 good resumes within two weeks.