Link Medical closing

Published 4:01 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I read, with great dismay, the article about the closing of Link Medical. As a nurse for hospice I worked with them many times per week getting assistance for our patients. The people at Link always went out of their way to help us and did it with professionalism and great empathy for hospice patients. They would meet me at a patient’s home any time of the day or night to help provide the best equipment and care possible to people who were sick and dying. Link also often provided equipment pro bono for patients who had no medical insurance and no means to pay. If I requested that they bring a bed out to someone in need with no financial means, there was never a question that they would do so. They never asked for special recognition or thanks, they just did what they knew was right. In short, Link was a fantastic medical organization with a heart that will be missed greatly in our community. Don’t expect that kind of service from whatever entity replaces them.

And why are they closing? Primarily due to the failures of government-administered health care benefits. Our government continues to require more paperwork while providing ever decreasing reimbursement for services. This is happening at every level for health care providers but adversely affects small business and rural areas in far greater proportion due to their increased expenses in covering wide geographical areas. As hospice nurses, documentation requirements increased every year until most nurses were working 12-16 hour days just to complete Medicare documentation requirements. We went without reimbursement for these hours as we were a non-profit agency without any deep pockets. None of these requirements improved service to our patients and families- our primary goal as providers of hospice care. They simply met some nameless and faceless bureaucrats’ needs to justify their existence by producing more regulations. The Affordable Care Act (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) produced over 2,000 pages of additional regulations onto an already overburdened health care system.

While large health care systems can afford advanced computer systems and data entry personnel, smaller entities like Link and hospice are unable to do so. So, the small businesses that are at the core of a successful America will continue to file for bankruptcy, be bought out by larger groups or, like Link, simply go out of business. All of this will be to the detriment of our communities and our citizens.

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So, for those of you banging the drum of “Medicare For All”, be careful what you wish for. Any government as large as our federal government has become is an extremely poor manager of large systems. That’s why the Post Office is 5 billion dollars in debt while FedEx and UPS thrive. That’s why our Veterans Administration health care system is crumbling and often allows men and women who gave their all for our country to sicken and die while waiting for care. That is why Amtrak continues to hemorrhage funds. And that is why we paid close to a billion dollars for a computer system for Obamacare that didn’t work and that cost another 500 million dollars, of our money, to repair.

When there are no consequences for poor management, as there are in the private sector, there are no reasons to improve the product or service being provided. After all, the public will just keep paying for it in their never-ending tax bills.

Stuart R. Goldstein, RN, MSN, Green Creek