My competitor Jason Lander keeps a great blog on staffing and VMS, but his recent post on healthcare in Canada didn’t sit right with me, particularly comments to the effect that private market forces (like profit-seeking businesses) detrimentally impact healthcare delivery in the USA.
My friend Pete Arnold (husband of Alisha Arnold, director of training at TempWorks) felt the same and chimed in with a rebuttal:
"I have worked with government-run healthcare before. A group out in California, for example, was completely run by the local government. Their project was beyond its completion date by two years and over budget by $6 million (the original budget was $7 million) and they wanted another $11-15 million to continue.
"The nurses were all members of the nursing union and made between $150-200k a year. Their union contract was very specific and negated the possibility of having SuperUsers without rewriting the union contract due to the slight increase in work for some that would be caused ... thus hampering implementation due to the need for super users.
"They had a two-page list of acceptable terminology, as phrases like 'Pros & Cons' and 'Electronic Learning' were too offensive, and had to be replaced with things like 'Positives and Deltas' or 'Self Guided Online Training' whenever referenced. If an offensive term was found, whatever you turned in had to be re-written.
"I have sat in meetings with 10 people, each making over six figures in the room, talking about acceptable teratology while they complain at the cost of printing in color.
"While this was within the United States, I have also worked with groups in Iowa, Texas and Washington, D.C., with providers in each that have fled the Canada healthcare system to have practices in the United States, citing things like how many more CT/MRI facilities there are here due to most of them being privately owned.
"While I am ignorant to the business of staffing, from what I have seen in regard to the business of healthcare: there is no such thing as there are too many unnecessary for-profit healthcare delivery organizations.' The competition between 'for-profit healthcare delivery organizations' is in my opinion one of the primary factors that can help to make a better system. As a consumer, we have a choice of where our money goes.
"I have been in discussions where a private clinic goes so far as to take into account ease of parking as something to offer to their patients over the competition. In reproductive health clinics (where little to no money from government or insurance enters their hands) the efficiency of work down to the implementation of an electronic medical record system is better handled. This can be seen with Lasik providers or plastic surgeons, as well.
"Multiple healthcare delivery organizations have to compete so that we choose one over the others, and this competition breads innovation instead of the typical stagnation that accompanies government control."