Friday, May 29, 2009

Misconduct at the T, Court House closings, Newton-Wellesley expansion

The Globe reports that the FBI is investigating reports of coerced sexual misconduct among the superior officers at the MBTA run police academy. Some of these allegations go back to 2002. I wonder how the FBI got involved with this in the first place, but hopefully they will get to the bottom of this in the next few months. If proven true, the T will hear again another public outcry for heads to roll.

A move to close under utilized court houses has met it's usual fate here in Mass, with the legislator vowing to fight any attempts at fiscal responsibility and efficiencies with the criminal justice system. Our neighbors in Natick have a courthouse that should be closed along with a few in and around the State. Great patronage jobs come from these court houses and so does the abuse. Just last month a court officer was charged with having sex with a defendant, in the unused court room.

Newton-Wellesley hospital has the approval of our Planning Board to set up a small surgical clinic on Rte 30 just of the Pike. After watching the adversarial rants by two members of our Board of Dysfunctional Health on TV this week, it's a wonder there wasn't any shootings. The CEO from NW was blasted with name calling and fear mongering. In today's ever competitive race for health care dollars and paying patients Hospitals have been at the mercy of law makers who have taken billions from the health care industry, including drug companies, who have helped drive health care costs beyond what most of us can afford.

In comes the need to expand, just like Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Hair salons and yes, Health Care clinics. Now comes the part of territory, like franchise agreements and dealer regions and in Heath Care, certain provisions are put into place to have health care expansion looked at from the State, but only at certain levels of financial expansion, 25 million is the threshold and NW's clinic falls under that.

Our PB approved the use of the building, which they are mandated to review. The MWMC now contends that the PB should have called the NW expansion into this one story building a hospital and not a clinic and questions if there's enough parking and the medical waste issue.

MWMC seems to be taking on an offensive to stop NW from coming to Town, in fear that they will lose income on high paying procedures. They also state that they will not be on a level playing field and will be forced out of business if NW comes to Town.

A few years ago, I drove 32 miles bleeding to get ER treatment for a 3" gash in my arm. Given the choice between Brockton, Milton, Quincy, I opted for my home Town Hospital, where everyone knows my name type feeling. My third daughter was born in NW and before Lenard Morse closed it's obstetrics, my second daughter was born there.

It's wonderful for those who are unhealthy to know Hospitals are there and they do provide jobs for the locals. It is also a reality that there are hundreds of thousands of unwarranted surgeries every year and half that amount of patients dying from mistakes made, infections and misdiagnosis. Two times in my life, I've been told that if I did not have surgery on my shoulder and my arm, I would not be using either the rest of my life. Needless to say, I sought out alternative treatments and today, I can use them both.

What would MWMC do if the majority of people served by them, got healthy by stopping the bad life style choices that are causing our health care system to implode? Would healthy living be a competitor, will acupuncturists, massage therapists and holistic healers be not allowed to set up shop to close to a hospital? The answer my friends is it's about money and the almighty reimbursement that the big three insurers in the State give to their managed groups.

I'm unclear on how the process will play out in terms of legal fees that the Town my have to put up, but I do hope that we don't end up with another reason to ask TMM's to vote for more money to fight another organization that wants to come to Framingham.


At May 29, 2009 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Jerry G. said...

Very informative posting about the hospital argument. I think having care locally is critically important, and I also think a new business in town is just as important in these fiscal times. I am not sure I understand the argument against this, other than it means the people charging the least for the service will have an advantage in getting the patients. Well, isn’t that the way of the business world? I buy a car from the guy that gives me the best price. All things the same, price is what motivates, and although I don’t like calling health care a purely business proposition, in reality, isn’t that exactly what it is? Your points about healthly living are well taken, but not all health issues are caused by unhealthy living. And there are accident victims and child birth and appendicts to come out, and for all those things, we should be able to go to a local hospital.

At May 29, 2009 at 11:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sexual abuse at the MBTA. Who would have thought that could happen. I mean, to work at the T you have to be an upstanding, respectable, responsible person. Yeah. Most of the people in positions of authority got their jobs as a favor to some connected politician or something, so they are no exactly of exempleary character, so this should not really surprise us. But they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Let’s see if that actually happens.

At May 29, 2009 at 12:20 PM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

I find it hard to believe we need to close courhouses when right now it can take years for a case to go to trial. If in fact the courhouse are being underused, I would guess it is more because the people employed there don’t work a full day, start late, take long lunches, and go home early. If a judge had to sit on the bench and hear cases from 8:00 – noon, and then from 1 – 5, actually work 8 hours a day, and the attorneys had to be there for those same hours, then the court system would no longer be backed up and then maybe we could close courthouses. But crime is going up, and the time to trial is increasing, how can we even consider slowing that down any more? These criminals are often out on the street while they await trial. Or even worse, how about an innocent person who sits in jail waiting for a trial date, sometimes for more than a year, only to be let go because they were not guilty, but how do they pick up their life after sitting in jail for a year? I don’t know, maybe I am missing something, but closing courthouses does not sound like a good idea to me.

At May 29, 2009 at 2:25 PM , Blogger Anderson said...

The question here should not be about opening new places to treat people, the questions should be about why health care in this country is so ridiculously expensive, and why the insurers control the costs, and not the providers. Free market enterprise should prevail in health care. What are we going to do about all the people going on MA Health because they lost their jobs and have to have insurance? The subsidy of MA health comes out of our pockets, and the cost is going to continue to rise. Are they figuring that amount into these budget talks, or are they going to hit us with another tax increase in a few months to cover this expense?

At May 29, 2009 at 3:48 PM , Blogger J. Price said...

Is there anywhere in this state the corruption is not the story of the day? Hospitals, the T, the court houses, added to the state house and the Turnpike Authority. What is left? How do you fire the whole management of the state, starting with the governor, and start over? Thats what I want to know.

At May 30, 2009 at 9:36 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...


The numbers show that some court house don't get the number of cases other do, like Natick. And in Boston it's even worse.

Most courts are now seeing and will see more this year, less possession of marijuana cases that clogged the courts for years.

The number of indigent people needing more public defenders at a time when there are fewer able to take on new cases, also slows the courts down.

It's a matter of costs versus benefits and the patronage jobs that cost us all in the end that don't serve to make our system work well is what's in question

At May 30, 2009 at 2:41 PM , Blogger Frustrated in Framingham said...

Where are we going to try all the corrupt politicians if we close the courthouses? We need every single court in the state open 16 hours a day if we every get around to finally charging and trying all the people in state government who are corrupt, unethical, and criminal. Of course, we would also have to bring in judges and court officers from other states since the ones in our own court system are also going to be on trial.

At May 30, 2009 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Friend said...

Sexual misconduct is a serious issue. My question is who is doing the investigating? Seems this is something that lots of people consider to be ok. Hope the people investigating the allegations are not one of the ones who things that. Why the FBI? Well, would you want the Boston Police investigating? I know I wouldn't!


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