Without Resources, How Will Hospitals Survive As Businesses? | Five To Save
Healthcare providers can't continue to provide goods and services in exchange for money if there are no personnel to provide the services and no goods, period.
Those of us in the healthcare business are in the unenviable position of balancing the fact that providers are businesses and healthcare is a public good. On the one hand, business transactions are totally impartial. If you don't like your job, you leave to find a better job, and that's that. On the other hand, if your leaving creates a labor shortage that prevents your neighbor from getting a kidney transplant, that neighbor is going to take it pretty personally.
That's the tension we saw this week as outlets and experts tried to anticipate what will be the defining struggles of 2022 and how we can overcome them (while still catching up on the problems that have been plaguing us for years now).
Here's the Five To Save from this week's news:
- We're at the point where the people who know best have found it necessary to say now that most Americans will get it. So we have to ask ourselves: "What do we want from vaccines?" If it's to get less severely sick, great, because that's what they do. If it's to lower rates of transmission, great, because vaccines do that, too.
- Some of this science played a part in the two recent Supreme Court decisions about vaccine mandates. Businesses aren't required to require vaccines, unless they're healthcare providers, because then vaccines are directly related to the health of the patient / consumer / human being who's on the other end of the transaction.
- How about the supplies necessary to conduct those transactions? With disruption rising once again, some providers are resorting to manufacturing their own supplies. Meanwhile supplies that were ordered when disruption was greatest and forgotten when disruption lessened have been ruined by inattention.
- Many of the supply disruptions facing American businesses are caused less by a material shortage than a labor shortage. One of the small ways the government's considering to address this is lowering the age of professional truckers to 18 to increase the size of the workforce.
- Great, we'll have more truckers, but what about healthcare workers? Labor shortages are just one of the challenges that will continue through 2022 and beyond, contributing to the fact that the healthcare business in America is about to collapse.
We tend to think that, if a business fails, that's tough luck for the people who made the mistake of getting involved. Some customers, employees, and shareholders got burned. No big deal. But if that business is providing a public good, we're talking about something more severe than just "tough luck" for an entire community. How do we prioritize providing healthcare?
Maybe what's needed is giving healthcare workers and the providers they work for the resources they need without the push-back and hassle. Unprecedented times, unprecedented solutions, and all that.
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