… re­search fo­cus im­per­a­tive

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters - Louise Tim­mer Reg­is­tered nurse Pro­fes­sor of nurs­ing Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity at Sacra­mento

Idis­agree with the fol­low­ing as­sump­tion in the ar­ti­cle “Aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ters may suf­fer”:

“Stud­ies have shown that the great­est costs for an ur­ban AMC are the home­less, the dis­abled, the men­tally ill and sub­stance abusers. The pro­posed new forms of health in­sur­ance will not cover the cost of care for th­ese in­di­vid­u­als while the fed­eral and state pay­ments that presently cover in­di­gent pa­tients will be elim­i­nated. AMCs are fur­ther threat­ened by leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als that would slow the growth of Medi­care pay­ment rates while at the same time re­al­lo­cat­ing pay­ments in or­der to ob­vi­ate ge­o­graphic dis­par­i­ties in spending and limit the amount of money go­ing to high­er­priced hos­pi­tals.”

The AMCs’ mis­sion is to con­duct re­search in dis­eases; de­velop new sur­gi­cal and med­i­cal as­sess­ment pro­ce­dures; work with in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary fac­ulty, such as fac­ulty from the dis­ci­plines of bio­med­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, biotech­nol­ogy, phys­i­ol­ogy and bio­chem­istry, to de­velop new equip­ment and de­vices; con­duct re­search in hu­man ge­net­ics and phys­i­ol­ogy; and con­duct ex­per­i­ments in drug ther­apy at the uni­ver­sity med­i­cal cen­ters.

The uni­ver­si­ties’ mis­sion is to move health­care into the fu­ture, not to de­liver rou­tine health­care ser­vices to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Un­for­tu­nately, the AMCs are be­ing used as a mon­ey­mak­ing re­source by many uni­ver­sity pres­i­dents. Nu­mer­ous uni­ver­sity med­i­cal cen­ters have cre­ated satel­lite cam­puses to serve the cur­rent med­i­cal needs of the re­gional pop­u­la­tion.

Re­im­burse­ment for the med­i­cal ser­vices by the med­i­cal fac­ulty and med­i­cal res­i­dents has be­come one of the new rev­enue sources nec­es­sary to op­er­ate the uni­ver­si­ties.

Th­ese AMCs are pre­vent­ing the med­i­cal fac­ulty and med­i­cal res­i­dents from con­duct­ing the nec­es­sary re­search in medicine and phar­ma­col­ogy and in­ter­fer­ing in re­search en­deav­ors with the in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary fac­ulty and doc­toral stu­dents to meet the fu­ture health­care needs of this na­tion.

AMCs should re­main re­search-fo­cused in­sti­tu­tions. To force the med­i­cal fac­ulty to pro­vide rou­tine health­care ser­vices to the re­gion as a rev­enue source for the uni­ver­sity is a tragedy and will pro­long or stop much­needed re­search to im­prove health­care.

Why are we sur­prised that the Repub­li­cans would protest about Med­i­caid be­ing guar­an­teed to ev­ery ci­ti­zen of Ne­braska? Why are we sur­prised that Repub­li­cans are re­fus­ing to even de­bate the health­care bill?

Repub­li­cans are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can do to en­sure that the av­er­age Amer­i­can will not get health­care.

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