Every action has consequences. Some are intended. Some are not intended. Some are good, some bad.
On January 1st, my company was informed of one of the unintended consequences of Obamacare. We received a letter from Medicare stating that our designation is no longer “Rural” but has been changed to “Urban.” With this change, the amount of money we are allowed to charge per mile has been cut. Our financial people estimate that this is going to cost us $500,000.00 this year.
Before you start crowing about evil healthcare finally getting kicked where it hurts, listen to what this means for my company.
First of all, everyone in the world knows that Jan 1 is not when you inform a company that they are going to lose money. We were already several months into this year’s budget. That $500k that we are not going to make already had a home in the budget. It was spent.
So we have to cut $500k.
The company is no longer providing new uniforms for employees every year.
Gym memberships are no longer paid for by the company.
The ventilators desperately needed by the Critical Care crews will not be purchased. There are some patients that we will not be able to treat.
Eighteen months ago the company started a new program that identified frequent callers, sent someone to their home to investigate the causes, and attempted to mitigate the situation. A single medic got people the home health they needed, referred patients to nursing homes and mental health resources, and even helped rearrange area rugs and power cords that were fall hazards. The program was becoming so successful that at the beginning of the year, several more medics were hired to meet the demand of the county.
That program has been scrapped.
Thankfully, the medic that has poured his life into it is not without a job. He’s back to being a truck medic. I’m not sure that was his plan, but at least he has a job. I’m not sure of the standing of the new employees…
Eight months ago one of our Supervisors retired. They have been waiting to fill the position with one of the road medics. The retirement was about six months earlier than expected so they were waiting for a couple of medics to finish training so they could open up the application process.
Rather than fill the position with a road medic, our new supervisor is the man who used to be in charge of Quality Assurance, training, and our relationship with the local hospitals. That position has also been scrapped. He’ll have to train to be supervisor – it isn’t something that he has ever pursued. But, at least he has a job.
On a side note, my supervisor will be going to the shift that lost their supervisor eight months ago. My shift will be getting the new guy. That is our reward for being the best shift ever.
My boss wears many, many hats. Before the new year, they opened up a second Operational Chief’s position. They wanted to distribute some of those hats to someone else. That position has now been scrapped as well. My boss will continue to wear many, many hats. I might be a little worried about him dying young…
Affordable healthcare for all has resulted in less healthcare for the community in which I work.