|I work at Shock Trauma...
||[Apr. 11th, 2008|03:04 am]
First I'm sorry for no cut. I still haven't learned how to do that...|
second, I work at Shock Trauma. I take the utmost pride in our system and I whole-heartedly believe that what we do is why we save sooo many lives. Like all medical systems in the country, there is always room for improvement and upgrades, but to privatize our medivac system would not be a good idea. Whoever wrote this opinion-letter obviously doesn't know the facts...
THE CAPITAL: HOMETOWNANNAPOLIS.COM APRIL 2, 2008
"Of all the things Maryland can point to with pride, one of the foremost is the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center - the first facility of its type, and perhaps the best in the country.
Some critics say the center is expensive. But many lives have been saved because helicopters quickly evacuated accident victims to a highly specialized trauma facility. But this expensive, tax-supported service can be abused.
Our story on Sunday showed that about half of the patients transported by state police to the shock trauma center were not seriously injured and could have been adequately treated at local emergency rooms at a third or a quarter of the cost.
Center officials say the number of patients transported is high because they often don't know the severity of injuries, and it's better to err on the side of caution. Nonetheless, another motive is financial: The slightly injured patients offset the high cost of treating seriously injured patients. So there is an incentive - other than saving lives - to fly patients to the shock trauma center.
Supplementing trauma patients with less seriously injured patients isn't without cost. Keeping the state police helicopters operational costs taxpayers $20 million a year, not including the $139 million the state is planning to spend to replace its 12 sophisticated helicopters.
A privatized helicopter service - many are used elsewhere in the country, and are better staffed - could provide the same high-level service and probably save the state money. Many emergency rooms and ambulance services are already privatized, so would this be any different? Maryland is the only state that relies on an agency - the state police - to operate a taxpayer-funded medevac system.
The state police don't bill for the service, which can easily cost $6,000. A free helicopter ride to the hospital may be great for the individual taxpayer who benefits from it, but is it something that all taxpayers - not insurance companies - should pay for?
State police logs will show that the helicopters are often used for public events - even a dinner party at a restaurant - and demonstrations at schools. With helicopter fuel costing taxpayers $400 an hour, are these expenses taxpayers can be reasonably expected to cover?
The state is conducting an audit to see if the helicopters are being used unnecessarily. Yet no one is expecting either auditors or legislators to delve to the heart of the issue, because of the overwhelming emotional commitment to this service. But no taxpayer-funded expense should be so sacred that it is immune to serious scrutiny.
Perhaps being the only state with a tax-supported medevac system makes us smarter than 49 others - but we doubt it. Unless the legislature finds the guts to examine this service, taxpayers will remain in the dark about its efficiency. Are taxpayers really going to tolerate such ignorance?"
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3 days 18 hours agoMIEMMS
The system as designed, and built is still the best trauma system in the world. Theoretically. Nobody is trying to dismantle the system but they are questioning the management of the air medical part. The Maryland State Police Aviation Command leads the public to believe that there are eight helicopters strategically placed to respond to the injured citizen in 18 minutes. Too often that's just isn't so. Many times the closest helicopter isn't there. It may be out of the area at a public demonstration, tied up at a photo op, or simply providing air taxi service for the Superintendant or some other VIP. The citizen gets to wait for the next one. The Aviation Command is top heavy with unqualified leaders who lack sufficient knowledge costing hundreds of thousands in salaries paid for from EMSOF funds. Fleet operational capability continues to decline each year and direct admissions to Shock Trauma are down. The system isn't what it used to be. The management has lost its sense of urgency for the medevac mission and continues to waste flight time and resources on unrelated activity. The helicopters cost over 8 million dollars to buy and over 2000 dollars an hour to operate. MSP can't explain why they were 5 million over budget last year in spite of the fleet falling below 66% operational capabilty for 120 days or four months in 2007. That's up from 90 days in 2006. Private services are staffed with higher qualified medical personnel per certification requirements. MSP attempted to mislead the public by using Cadets as second providers wasting more taxpayer money on unqualified personnel only for appearances. Nobody is trying to dismantle the system, just fix it and bring it into to 21st century.
M. Holt - Arnold, MD
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4 days 20 hours agoMEIMMS
The person who believes the MEIMSS system should be dismantled is probably the owner of a private helicopter company, and is seeking to make a profit himself. His lack of facts, or contrived facts are startling. I hope for this persons sake or his family members sake, we trauma nurses and this system is still in place if they ever need the help of emergency medicine, having practiced in other ICU's I assure you, if our patients went to other ER's they would not be going home at all as many of our patients do.
J. Byer - Glen Burnie, MD
This is such a bunch of bulllllshit. Whoever wrote this is someone who is pissed off that they aren't getting their way with something and has absolutely no clue what they are talking about. It infuriates me, because its these kind of assholes that develop a following and pretty soon while we're busy saving their lives from their stupidity, we get it up the ass.
AGHHHHHHHHHH! When I calm down I can develop a better reply to this