Okay, I thought I could maybe go a whole week or so without a rant, but a story on Sixty Minutes this evening got to me.
The story was about an oncology clinic in Las Vegas that was closed because of the tough economic times. The hospital CEO was interviewed and she said that the state budget is decimated because of the loss of tax revenue from gaming and construction, and the hospital lost millions of medicare funding.
That wasn’t what was so upsetting. What was difficult to watch was the interviews with patients who were no longer going to be able to receive chemotherapy. They all said that without treatment they will die.
The people featured in this story have no insurance. Many of them have lost their jobs and therefore their health coverage. Yet, they do not qualify for some kinds of social assistance since they are not among the poorest of the poor. So they are out there in some terrible medical limbo with no hope in sight.
I’m not faulting the hospital for having to make this tough decision, but I do wonder if that hospital CEO and other administrators have taken a pay cut to help balance their budget. And what else have they done to streamline costs before taking this drastic step? Like any other business, there is so much administrative waste in a large hospital, that a couple of million dollars could be found so a few more people don’t have to die.