Tell us about FIX IT Healthcare at the Tipping Point –
Fix It is a documentary about healthcare finance and the possibility of single-payer healthcare reform. Fix It is also meant to speak directly to the business community about the economic impacts on employers and employees. Fix It is a compilation of interviews with doctors, nurses, economists, professors, and businessmen – comparing and contrasting our system of healthcare finance in the U.S. with other countries around the World.
How did you get involved in the movie “FIX IT”?
I have known the Executive Producer, Richard Master, for many years. I was asked to join the Fix It team as Outreach Coordinator. The Executive Producer, Richard Master, knew about my work with Harvard University doing outreach education with primary care physicians here in Pennsylvania.
It has been an eye opening experience to learn about worldwide healthcare finance – from the profit driven industry in the U.S. to the universal healthcare models found in pretty much every other country in the World.
Richard Master has funded the project since its inception – roughly 2 years ago. I have been working here for 8 months and the funding for my position will run out in about 5 weeks – which puts me back in the nursing/education job market once again. It has been great to see that nurses all over the country are getting involved in this arena – from individuals to nurse’s unions.
How can single-payer help nurses / nursing ?
I believe that nurses and patients stand to benefit most from a single-payer model. In a for-profit system, reducing staffing remains a major tool in reducing costs – in particular, reduction in nurse staffing. Nurses are well aware of staffing ratios and the limited time that can be spent with individual patients.
One of the nurse union representatives put it this way – “There is approximately 1 billing/administrative employee for every hospital bed in the US – imagine US healthcare with 1 nurse for every hospital bed?”
Did you know that many health insurance CEO’s earn in excess of $80,000 per day? The average nurse salary is $65,000 per year. In a profit driven industry, it is nearly impossible to provide patient-centered care – this is a reality in the U.S.
Where I live here in Pennsylvania, our 2 largest employers are both non-profit hospitals. Their CEO’s earn in excess of $2 million per year, the hospitals have over $1.2 BILLION in cash reserves and profit over $150 MILLION per year. This is non-profit? Of course, their status gives them all the economic and tax benefits afforded to non-profit organizations.
The above 3 paragraphs are non-existent in other countries, not to mention the fact that over 60% of all household bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to medical bills – this is also unheard of in other countries.
As a physician in the documentary put it so well – “Single-payer holds out the hope that healthcare can once again become a caring profession”. As it stands today, healthcare in the U.S. is about money, pure and simple – and nurses and hands-on staff are at the very bottom of the barrel – isn’t that a pity?
So, to circle back after that rant – single-payer could give nurses the opportunity to focus on health, wellness, and caring for patients. There are billions of dollars that could be placed back into actual patient care, instead of into the pockets of multi-millionaire businessmen.
A big thank you to Stan Prodes, RN for sharing his experience and insights! And don’t miss the provocative documentary, FIX IT! Single payer is making a lot of sense to me. What about you?
Stan Prodes began his healthcare career in the 1990’s as an EMT and paramedic and went on to earn his Masters Degree from University of Florida, 1991 in Exercise Physiology and became a Registered Nurse, Excelsior College in 2002. He’s weeks away from finishing his BSN at Excelsior. His nursing background is in ER and trauma and he has worked as a clinical educator for the last 10 years. He has taught anatomy/physiology, electrocardiography, and health/wellness on the college level. Stan is married (17 years glorious years, as his wife would say), has two teenage children (boy-14 and girl-16), living in Bethlehem, PA.