My coworkers and I were having a discussion a few days ago, and the topic was: What will happen to respiratory therapists if Obama's Healthcare plan is eventually signed into law by the president. The general consensus was that many of us may need to look for new jobs.
First of all, the first thing Obama would order to diminish healthcare costs is for a complete and thorough investigation into procedures ordered and whether or not they are really needed. Hence, once this investigation gets to the RT Cave of any hospitals, a stunning revalation will be made: 80% of bronchodilator breathing treatments ordered are not indicated.
Right now the RT Bosses of the RT Cave count the "un-needed" bronchodilator orders as procedures, and the more predicted procedures the more staff positions are justified. If this procedure load is lapsing, then there is no way to justify, say, having two RTs on during the day.
After such an investigation, doctors would be instructed to attend "bronchodilator instruction classes," where they will be informed on the correct times where it is appropriate to order bronchodilators.
The end result here is doctors won't want to think that hard, so they will piss and moan enough for Obama to mandate (make an executive order) that all hospitals within the U.S. incorporate RT Driven Protocols that make sure that the RT decides who gets breathing treatments.
The good news is obvious: we'd have the protocols we've yearned for for years.
The bad news is obvious too: fewer RTs will be needed. We RTs on the low end of the totum poll will be out of luck, as will many to be RTs just finishing RT School.
Of course, when it comes to the government making decisions such as this, you never know what to expect. The alternate course will be that government bureaucrats will think along the lines of the RT Bosses, who would rather pay for un-needed therapies as opposed to forcing thousands of RTs out of a job.
Those who run the government, as you know from recent stimulus bills filled with pork projects, sometimes prefer to spend money where it isn't needed to stimulate demand and create jobs. If this is the route bureaucrats decide to take with RTs, then we are safe -- although we ardent supporters of bronchodilator reform will continue to cry foul.
It's possible our position may be absorbed by nursing to the detriment of the patients, and all us RTs will be out of a job. No disrespect to nursing here, but we are the one's with all the RT Wisdom. The major decider here: money!
And, what happens to us RTs will not be made by thousands of independent hospital administrators where we work, but by one bureaucrat sitting in a chair in Washington. He will decide, because he knows what's best for everyone.
So, if you're not a gambler, perhaps you best call your local U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator and make clear your opposition. On the other hand, if you're a gambler, stay put and hope for the best.
Note: This is an editorial and does not necessarily represent the views of the publication.