Proud to be in Health Care

Given the historic moment last night**, it’s not suprise that work today was … interesting. Oh, did I forget to tell you that I work for a major health insurance company?

We’re a smart bunch, us RN Case Managers. We’re smart enough to know that the landscape of health care will change. However, we’re also smart enough to know that the basic concept of Case Management will remain the same regardless of how health care is financed.

We know that nurses will continue to be needed in whatever setting they’re currently in. We know that hospitals and other extended-care facilities (like nursing homes or rehabs) will continue to need the skills that a Registered Nurse can provide. We know that physician offices will continue to need the assistance and, let’s face it, the compassion that an RN can provide in order to explain certain procedures and condition in layman’s terms.

Specifically as Case Managers, we know how important it is for a person to be aware of their own health. We know that knowledge and education is important in order for a person to be self-directed in their own care. And we know that the average person might not be as knowledgeable on how to navigate the health care system. Which is why, today of all days, that being a health care advocate for a person is important; why being a Case Manager is an incredibly powerful thing.

So despite the fact that health care as we previously knew it will change … and regardless of exactly how this will be carried out within the health insurance company I work for … it’s a good time to be a nurse; a great time to be an RN Case Manager.

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Two weeks and counting until the end of my Lenten journey. So, in Croatian

Dobro djelo za danas: Today’s good deed. Nothing big today … I happened to run into a fellow supervisor walking into our building this morning; her arms full of various things she had to carry in from the train. So being the kind person I am, I lended her a hand. I helped her up the stairs, through the security gate, in the elevator and onto our floor. Whew … I’m tired just thinking about the distance it takes to get from the entrance of our building up to our floor!

Osjećaj zahvalnosti za dan: Today,  I am once again grateful for the awesome husband that I have. Let’s just say that this morning’s walk with Kozzy resulted in a nasty mess … one I didn’t even notice until Hubby and I were in the car driving to work. And even then … it took me a moment to realize that the poo smell was coming from the bottom of my shoe. <blech!> But the good Hubby that he is, he offered to wait in the car once we got to the office so I could change shoes (extra pairs underneath my desk, yo!) and have him take the stinky pair home. (This of course, happened BEFORE I helped out my fellow supervisor!) He’s so incredibly good to me!!

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** If you want to see what *I* had to say about Health Care Reform, take a look at the bottom half of yesterday’s Mish Mosh post.

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Mish Mosh

I think I’ve hit the proverbial “brick wall” with my daily blog entries. I’m just not at all feeling creative these days and I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m just 15 days away from finishing up the promise I made to myself to post daily until the Monday after Easter.

Yeah, I’ve got me some writer’s block going on.

Oh, not that I don’t have things to say (when don’t I?), I think I’m at that state where I know I’m in the last stretch before the home front. And if I. Can. Just. Push myself. A little further …

Today was laundry day. And at the cafe next to the laundromat, there happened to be this sign –>

How can you not laugh after seeing that? Especially now that I’m imagining a future bowl of soup take off on me in the midst of consuming it so it can save the world.

Afterward, it was back to the local coffee house so that Hubby can continue to do some more work without the distractions of the TV at home. Nope … instead we were distracted by looking up scores for the NCAA March Madness Tourney.

Of which, this is the first year I’ve ever did a set of brackets. While I’ve known I’m a sports fan(atic) for a while, I’ve never been too much of a college basketball lover. (Hubby blames it on the demise of Michigan’s Fab Five.) And I could never understand how people could become so distracted on those Thursdays and Fridays of the NCAA tournament. Until now. D*mnit.

Oh, and I just have to send a quick shout-out to my alma mater, Oakland University that did make the tournament this year. Unfortunately they lost in the first round. But that’s more I can say about Hubby’s alma mater. 😛

One more piece of babble before I sign off for the night. And I have to mention it only because it is a rather historic day in Washington DC. I think any American would’ve had to be living under a rock these past couple years not to know what I’m talking about.

Hubby "rockin' it" at the local *Bucks

Yes, I can’t believe that today will be the House vote on whether or not to pass the Health Care Reform bill. And seeing that the key Democratic  hold-out amended his decision based on a last-minute Executive Order from Obama, it’s sounding more and more like this Health Care Reform bill will be signed into legislation by the end of tonight or in the early morning hours.

As a professional clinician in the Health Care arena … let alone one that specifically works for a health insurance company, I’m honestly a little nervous about what this will mean for the landscape of my imminent future. While I will be incredibly relieved that this version of Health Care Reform means that everyone has access to quality health care (because regardless of whether a person is poor or rich, we should all have the basic human right of receiving appropriate care), I’m a little worried of the reality on how this will all be funded.

Again, not saying that I disagree with the concept that every living being should be able to have access to the basic human right of quality health care … I’m just simply stating that if Health Care costs continue to rise at the rate that they do, how will even the federal government pay for it?

My Mom made the comment this afternoon as a spoke with her that it’s because of rise in Health Insurance premiums that have forced those previously opposed to the bill change their mind. She specifically pointed to my employer ( … you know, the one who pays my bills?) as an example.

WTF?! This is Suburban Chi-Town's version of the Leaning Tower

However, what she failed to see (and what most people also fail to realize) is that the raise in premiums is due to the rise in overall health care costs. And rise in overall health care costs is a combination of multiple factors. One which can specifically be directed towards those pharmaceutical companies and high technology companies that produce those multi-million dollar machines that can diagnose cancer just by standing next to it.

I’m kidding, of course. There is no such instrument. But the truth is, it’s these companies that charge US the consumers millions of billions of dollars in order to turn a healthy profit on their end. And when I talk about “consumers,” I mean any person that seeks health care services, the facilities that prescribe these drugs or purchase these instruments, and the health insurance companies.

Where else would these pharmaceutical companies get the money to advertise their medications (A$$-effects anyone?) And how else would they continue to make the profits by keeping the patents to these medications for years and years (and years), and charge hundreds of dollars for their “Brand Name” drug when it could be made more readily available for generic distribution (and therefore cheaper to the consumers)?

So yes, this is more the reason I’m concerned about the current Health Reform bill. Because, quite frankly, it really doesn’t discuss any reform when it comes to health care spending.

Another Random Chicago Pic

And maybe it’s because I’ve seen both sides of the equation … both as a Registered Nurse working in the hospital and as a RN Case Manager working for the health insurance company …  trying to assist with finding resources for those un(der)insured patients in order for them to be safely discharged home, that I absolutely know Health Care Reform is needed.

I just hope that somehow with the passing of this bill, that these other issues will also be addressed. Especially now that those “bills” (as in the bills that typically get sent to the individual who received services and/or the health insurance company, if they have any) would be the responsibility of our government.

Whew. Okay … this was a much longer post that I anticipated. But hey … perhaps this means I’ve plowed through that brick wall?!

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In German today, here’s my Daily Lenten exercise.

Eine gute Tat des Tages: Uhm … I’m honestly not quite sure I did a Good Deed today. At least not yet. I guess I’ll have to do something before the day is officially over. Hmmm … perhaps walk our Kozzy-girl when we get home? So Hubby can continue to work? Yeah. Think I’ll do that.

Gefühle der Dankbarkeit für den Tag: Well, today I’m grateful for Hubby who did a stellar job in helping out with the laundry today. Especially since I’m not feeling a 100% today. I’m all achey and clammy. Uh-oh. 🙁

Okay y’all. Time to sign off for now. Until tomorrow …

First Day of Spring

Tyler in Chicago for Spring Break 2009

Today marked the first day of spring here in Chicago. So what was the first this I saw this morning? Snow. What’s worse is that yesterday was absolutely beautiful; just like the previous three days before then.

Welcome to the Midwest; where we’re all proud to boast the fact that we get to experience all four seasons. We just may not experience them in the order that Nature is supposed to hand them to us.

On another note, it looks like we won’t be heading back to Detroit until late April. We were thinking of going home for Easter, but were actually dreading the drive home for once. I’m not sure if it’s age, but I just can’t seem to recover as quickly from busy weekends and long drives.

In any case, instead of visiting family for Easter … we’ll be entertaining instead. It appears that both my niece and nephew will be coming to visit us for the weekend and it should be fun. I’m especially hoping to spend some time with Tyler, as I’m sure that this will be one of the last Spring Breaks he’ll want to spend with us once he hits high school next year. And it should definitely be fun seeing Kairi … as I know she’s finally able to readily recognize us.

Kairi with Dad and Tyler, 2009

What will be interesting is to see how Kairi and Kozzy get along. Last year when the whole family came and visited, Kairi was only seven months old and Kozzy was still too new to the city. It was funny to watch the two of them try to interact, as both were rather scared of one another. The best part was that whenever Kozzy barked, Kairi would naturally cry … and if Kairi cried, Kozzy would have to put her two cents in and bark back. And if one would get louder, the other one had to raise it up a notch, too! So we’ll see how both are with each other when they meet again on Easter weekend!

Until then, I must continue on with the promise I made to post daily. And I do confess … I’m looking forward towards the end of my daily posts. Not that I don’t want to continue doing Random Acts of Goodness or write about things I’m grateful for … no, I’m just looking forward to going back to writing about more substantial things other than (what feels like) a journal entry of daily events.

Anyhoo … let’s get on with my Lenten activities.

Tyler & Hubby on Navy Pier, 2009

Una buona azione del giorno: Why do I feel like I should be having pasta and marinara right now instead of saying what good deed I did today? I think the nicest thing I did today was wake up early this morning just to take my Kozzy-girl out for her walk. Apparently Kozzy thought she was doing ME a favor by waking me up at the time I normally wake up for the weekend. <Hmmmph> But really, what she wanted to do was go out for her morning stroll. Too bad neither of us knew exactly how cold it was this morning … me without my winter boots and Kozzy without her doggie coat. Brrrr ….

Sentimenti di gratitudine per la Giornata: Today’s grateful thought is all about the availability of free WiFi. If it wasn’t for that and my laptop, I would be tied to the apartment … or worse , to my cubicle at work … doing all the other stuff for work that I can’t get done during the normal business week. So yes … free WiFi? I heart you. Dearly.