Anytime a health facility closes, it puts an added burden on the remaining facilities. Many times the other facilities just do not have the staff or room to accommodate all the incoming patients. In today’s economy this makes things even more critical.
Over Run Emergency Rooms
In the best of economic times, there are people who do not have insurance or any means to pay a medical bill. When they are truly ill they go to the hospital, knowing they cannot be turned down unless it is a privately owned facility. Public hospitals know there is going to be a certain amount of indigent care required that will probably never be paid; it is considered in their budgets. When one facility closes, it puts a big burden on the financial stability of the remaining ones. Too many people are left waiting for long hours in an emergency room. More accidents happen, which can result in more malpractice cases. The hospital starts to lose more money and they end up getting rid of some of the staff, creating an even bigger patient problem.
Lack of Adequate Care
Even before the remaining facilities have to let go of some of the staff, there is still not enough staff to handle the influx of people. Surgeries have to be scheduled way in advance and emergencies that come in often end up pushing a scheduled one back even further. There may be a shortage of blood within one facility, creating the need for more blood drives and more transfers from other hospitals. Other supplies can run short too. The machines used to clean, disinfect and sterilize medical tools are kept working non-stop and still cannot keep up with the workload.
Doctor and Nurse Burnout
Anyone in the health care industry can tell you that burnout is a very real problem. It only gets worse when there are more patients to contend with. This can result in overtired doctors and nurses. Things can and will start to go wrong. It is also a big reason why people in the medical professions have a high rate of problems with different stimulants and other drugs.
The plain fact is there are not enough medical facilities now. Many cities have a shortage of nursing professionals and creating early burn out is only making the situation worse. While it is true that medical centers are not not-for-profit businesses, they need to take a look at budgets and find out how to make them work without closing their doors. This country needs to take a god look at health insurance and legal lawsuits. The new healthcare system is not going to stop the problems hospitals are facing. Something has to give, people are going to get sick and hurt and need attention. Many of them will not be able to pay the bills. That is where to start, figure out how to make it more affordable without the insurance companies involved. Alabama is not the only state facing these issues.