Healthcare worker Htun Lin takes up the relationship between workers in healthcare in the U.S. who are told “not everyone can be saved,” and what is happening in Syria where the Syrian government, Russia and Iran are bombing civilians including–or especially–hospitals and healthcare workers.
A critique of HMO practices that sanction nurses for giving quality care, showing the relation of that practice to what Marx worked out about labor time.
The workplace at Amazon.com is making employees physically and mentally ill which is a hallmark of production under capitalism. What happens at Amazon.com is not unusual and can be seen even in areas like healthcare, for example, at Kaiser.
Working in healthcare has been transformed in a very alienating way. The workplace is drowning in fancy hi-tech machines. Cadres of bureaucrats spend their working hours promoting the product of healthcare with marketing campaigns. The rank and file hear daily admonitions to smile more and are told, “Just be glad you have a job.” Bureaucrats preach “customers come first,” while cutting service and staffing. Hospital and HMO executives are in a race to eliminate labor as much as possible in their “product.”
2,600 mental health clinicians in California carried out a week-long strike over Kaiser Permanente’s “failure to provide timely, adequate care to patients.”
In the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, only one person, Thomas Eric Duncan, has died on U.S. soil from the virus. But millions have been led to panic. Irresponsible politicians like Gov. Christie of New Jersey created a climate of fear. Ebola spreads only by intimate contact with biological fluids, but Christie called for mandatory quarantines on healthy healthcare workers like Kaci Hickox returning from West Africa….
Healthcare reform took cost-control ideology to a whole new level. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been transformed into its opposite by the HMO industry which sacrifices the lives of patients and workers alike for the sake of fiduciary health.
Reliance on metrics in healthcare has become a new Taylorism, or management by time study. Everything in the hospital workplace is now tracked by sophisticated computer programs, down to every last pill, gauze and penny, and down to every last motion. This vast pool of information becomes Big Data.
The phenomenon of human beings losing a race with machines is especially pernicious in the healthcare workplace. The computer has become the virtual boss of everyone in the shop, by setting the pace of everyone’s job.
by Htun Lin
Banks that were rescued because they were deemed “too big to fail” after they caused the 2008 economic collapse want to sue the government for trying to regulate their reckless behavior. The unspoken corporate motto where I work at the nation’s largest Health Maintenance Organization is, “We’re too big to care.”
Our CEO [=>]
by Htun Lin
Over a billion dollars has been spent in the last decade to comprehensively computerize the workplace at the nation’s largest HMO, where I work. For the executives, it’s as if the line between the virtual and the real has finally been eliminated. Not so for us rank-and-file workers, trying to provide real [=>]
by Htun Lin
A patient shows up in the emergency room, expecting care, and wanting to be seen by a doctor. But the gulf between the patient’s expectations and the reality of HMO practice is right out of “The Twilight Zone.”
Even before the patient gets to see the doctor, a healthcare worker like me walks in [=>]