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.