What's The Frequency — February 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Enduring Nemo

by
A blizzard by any other name

Here in New England there are certain things which are expected. Snow in the winter is one such thing. We understand it will happen and prepare for it by getting snow tires and shovels. Blizzards, from time to time, are expectations too. We don’t deal with blizzards quite as well. Perhaps because, you can’t prepare adequately enough for all the things that can happen with a storm that can last for days dumping snow with wind whipped freezing temperatures and a measure of thunder and lightning to punctuate our vulnerability to nature. It is a meeting of all the elements we have absolutely no control over and it is pretty scary regardless of how many times we live through it. 

Blizzard 2013 is finished and the digging out has begun. The tallies are impressive enough to put it into the top 5 of our all time snow storms. I road the storm out in my little town by the sea. We are surrounded by water on three sides. So, we had the extra fun of flooding to deal with. As unbelievable as it seems, my power was out for only about four hours. We have our own municipal power company with windmills. The team there does an amazing job keeping us lit through the worst nature hurls at us. How they achieved what they did last night completely confounds me. My house was literally rocking and remains encased in ice today. Yet, some brave folks were out in the teeth of that storm trying to hook up wires. And, Nancy Helm-Estabrook said speech pathologists have the hardest job in the world.

Why am I spending time writing about yet another New England storm when there have been so many before and there will be so many more to come? Because, the Blizzard reminded me of Medicare.

Having worked in Healthcare all my life, I should expect the blizzard of changes Medicare dishes out yearly. It should be second nature to hospitals and healthcare professionals to weather reimbursement storms which descend on us from a congress that has no idea what it takes to keep people alive, healthy, and coping with their illnesses. A congress which does not participate in the healthcare system it regulates.

But, each year I’m stunned by the changes. The companies I’ve worked for have been stunned. Many collapsed. In fact, over the years, I have worked for  fifteen different companies. Nine no longer exist. All the closed business hit their breaking points around some Medicare cut or other.  PPS alone  knocked the coffin nails in on five of them.

The question that keeps bothering me is, did any of the changes really save any money? Or, where they really just a blizzard of hot air with two foot deep drifts of paper and booming rheotoric?

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