Im­prov­ing health care; term lim­its for Kern su­per­vi­sors

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - News -

As folks who have pa­tron­ized the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion for most of our 80-plus years, my wife and I would like to make some sug­ges­tions about health care.

Be­tween us we use the ser­vices of six docs plus the help­ful ad­vice of two nieces who are nurses.

In con­trast to our ear­lier years, all our docs are re­ally nice peo­ple.

One is in Palmdale, the rest are in Lancaster, and to­gether they are a potpourri of gen­ders and na­tion­al­i­ties who work to­gether to give us great health care.

It helps that Bil­lye re­tired from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, which means that we have the Fed­eral Em­ploy­ees Health Ben­e­fit Plan, which, along with Medi­care, gives us ex­cel­lent cov­er­age.

Knock on wood, even af­ter ma­jor surgery, we have never had to cough up (bad choice of words) a ma­jor co-pay.

Fill­ing out forms

Our ma­jor gripe, which ap­plies to prob­a­bly ev­ery­one in this na­tion re­gard­less of cit­i­zen­ship, is the time we spend time on bu­reau­cracy dur­ing our vis­its.

I can’t tell you how many times, es­pe­cially when one of us is hav­ing a “test” of some sort, we are handed a clip­board ask­ing us to an­swer ques­tions about our med­i­cal his­tory.

It’s al­most al­ways a test we have pre­vi­ously com­pleted, and seeks data that has not changed since the visit and we have trou­ble re­call­ing in our dotage, like the dates of my wife’s first and last pe­ri­ods.

I do have an iPhone app that in­cludes much of this stuff along with other grisly de­tails, but un­for­tu­nately it isn’t trans­fer­able to the docs even by email.

Each morn­ing I take our blood pres­sure and record it on an app, which I print out when we visit our docs.

Com­mit­tees

Over the years I have served on sev­eral com­mit­tees and boards in­volv­ing health care in East Kern and the An­te­lope Valley, ex­pe­ri­ence that has been valu­able in keep­ing up with the re­gion’s health care needs.

Health care ser­vices in our area are ex­pand­ing.

Te­hachapi has a brand­new hos­pi­tal op­er­ated by Ad­ven­tist Health care, which also man­ages ru­ral health clin­ics in Mo­jave, Cal­i­for­nia City and Te­hachapi.

Te­hachapi also has an ex­panded Kaiser Clinic, a new ra­di­ol­ogy prac­tice and a new Dig­nity Health clinic.

The re­gion has a new hos­pi­tal in Palmdale and City of Hope of­fers full ser­vice to can­cer pa­tients on the An­te­lope Valley Hos­pi­tal cam­pus.

Prop­erty ad­ja­cent to An­te­lope Valley and Te­hachapi hos­pi­tals can be de­vel­oped for ad­di­tional health care-re­lated ser­vices.

All of these fa­cil­i­ties con­tinue to re­duce the need for pa­tients to leave the area to seek care.

Sev­eral years ago my wife needed ma­jor surgery, and we spent 10 days in a Los An­ge­les hos­pi­tal.

In­sur­ance cov­ered the surgery but not the travel, the cost for me to stay in a handy ho­tel on the hos­pi­tal prop­erty and other ex­penses that would have been sig­nif­i­cantly less had the op­er­a­tions been per­formed lo­cally.

One-stop bu­reau­cracy

Get­ting back to my con­cerns about bu­reau­cracy, that has been re­duced by a cer­tain amount lo­cally.

Pa­tients at some hos­pi­tals can speed up their vis­its by sign­ing in elec­tron­i­cally and con­nect­ing to their records.

That’s great, but ef­forts be­gun in the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion to es­tab­lish a na­tional health care records sys­tem have all but dis­ap­peared.

Some of our docs have their own elec­tronic records sys­tems, but the push for a com­pat­i­ble na­tional sys­tem has got­ten lost in the pol­i­tics of health care, which are founder­ing on the pres­i­dent’s ef­forts to de­stroy the cur­rent sys­tem solely to make his pre­de­ces­sor look bad.

From what I read about the na­tional health care de­bate, many mem­bers of Congress, sat­is­fied with the Fed­eral sys­tem my wife and I have, or wealthy enough to not have to worry about costs, ig­nore the needs of the rest of the “Amur­ri­can Peo­ple” they claim to love, es­pe­cially dur­ing elec­tions.

Na­tions that have func­tion­ing na­tional health care sys­tems man­aged to de­velop them by hav­ing their lead­ers sit down with each other, ig­nor­ing pol­i­tics, and behaving like adults to de­velop func­tion­ing sys­tems.

What a con­cept.

No sys­tem is ever per­fect. Our Af­ford­able Care Act can be im­proved, not by dump­ing it and leav­ing mil­lions with­out care — es­sen­tially con­demn­ing many of them to early deaths — but for once putting aside child­ish neg­a­tiv­ity and ac­tu­ally do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive in­stead of point­ing fin­gers like two-year-olds.

The one big les­son I learned early on in pol­i­tics was that the pri­mary con­cern of al­most all politi­cians is re-elec­tion. The first thing the first politi­cian I served told me was that we would all have jobs as long as he kept his.

Which ex­plains much of why things are the way they are.

Good ques­tions to ask politi­cians dur­ing the com­ing months and don’t let them pass the buck to their “en­e­mies.”

Term lim­its for Kern su­per­vi­sors?

A young man who has been try­ing to get Kern County su­per­vi­sors to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana sales has an­nounced that he plans to ask vot­ers to limit su­per­vi­sors to serv­ing two terms on the board.

Since cur­rent board mem­bers will have served two terms by the 2020 elec­tion, if his mea­sure passes he is hop­ing that they would all step down.

Sev­eral Cal­i­for­nia coun­ties have term lim­its, but none of them ter­mi­nated in­cum­bents’ terms when the bal­lot mea­sure passed.

That’s be­cause of a court de­ci­sion that says it’s un­con­sti­tu­tional and not fair.

Which means that if the man’s mea­sure gets on the bal­lot it will prob­a­bly not ap­ply to sit­ting su­per­vi­sors right away, which will not help his goal of chang­ing the pot laws.

I haven’t al­ways sup­ported term lim­its, but over the years I have come to see their value, es­pe­cially in a time when so many politi­cians have fi­nally re­vealed their to­tal lack of some­thing we once called core values.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how this plays out and its ef­fect on the 2020 Kern County elec­tion.

Wait­ing for DMV

Ku­dos to the gover­nor for his shakeup of DMV.

One thing he might con­sider is some­thing called “DMV Ex­press,” which we used when we lived in Vir­ginia.

It con­sisted of small of­fices in shop­ping cen­ters equipped to han­dle sim­ple things like re­new­ing driv­ers’ li­censes and pay­ing

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