I was having a discussion with a few influential democrats in Arizona yesterday about why patient safety and protecting healthcare workers so they can speak up is not more of a priority in Arizona especially given the recent deaths and cover-ups at the VA, the deaths in the MCSO jails, and the death at the Arizona Mental Hospital. I was told that right now the highest priority must be on making sure that Arizonans get their “basic needs met” and that education must me of the highest importance, and the children suffering within the Child Protective Agency system. I was also advised that this is pretty much the “collective thought” of the democratic side of the house and it doesn’t appear the priorities will be “budging” anytime soon. If the priority is on making sure the basic needs of Arizonans are met, then doesn’t the definition of basic rights include safety, security, the truth, and justice???? Because from my conversation yesterday, I’ve learned that the definition of basic rights of all Arizonans includes good funding for the educational system and making sure the children within the CPS system are better cared for.
Now, I don’t disagree with all of this. What I do take exception to is the limited definition of “basic rights and needs of all Arizonans” the house and the senate in Arizona seems to aspire to. There is more to the lives of Arizona citizens than the CPS system and the Educational system. A lot more. I took the time to go to the legislature and introduce several patient safety bills from other states who have successfully implemented legislation and are benefitting from it. I also performed a fiscal analysis that revealed that implementing patient safety legislation would not cost Arizona any more money from its yearly budget—in fact, it was going to save them MILLIONS EACH YEAR. The only thing it was going to take was the house and senate putting something down in committee and getting it through. Here’s a key concept: Saved money means MORE MONEY for education and CPS. Instead, AZ is pumping boatloads of money into the Medicaid programs every year for unnecessary lengthy hospitalizations and procedures, and wrongful death suits related to medical errors that go unreported. This is MILLIONS in wasted money that could be redirect toward those things that Arizona is running short on money TO FUND NOW! Less medical errors mean less lengthy hospitalizations and lawsuits, the decreased incidence of lowering capitation rates for fee for service participating providers who are on the Medicaid Rosters to make ends meet in the state’s budget—-you get it. If more people felt they could report dangerous incidents before they happened, or unethical medical practices BEFORE harm reached the patient, Arizona would bear less of a financial burden and the money saved could be reallocated within the yearly fiscal budget to EDUCATION AND CPS!
Education and CPS—when you hear these two together, you tend to think of children, of our youth……its \hard not to. But you know what, there are other people in Arizona not getting their basic needs met right now, and haven’t been for quite some time……our elderly, our mentally ill, and other vulnerable populations of people who are left out in the open to become the next target of medical error and the nurse or healthcare provider who is powerless to say anything, to do anything, to keep it from happening—because, after all, they need their paycheck….and their careers. So here is a good question for you to ponder: What does the cost of life mean to you? How much should it cost? And what is so difficult about a bipartisan agreement on the same thing: the lives of Arizonans mean something. Their safety means something, legislation will cost us nothing to implement, so let’s just do it because it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO. ON THE NEWS: the house passed a law to enable women to be more informed about their Breast tissue — that they will now have the right to demand more information and more testing to ensure they get the healthcare they deserve: http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/arizona-sb-1225-requires-doctors-to-inform-women-of-breast-density — somewhere, someone in the house or senate sees patient safety and patients’ rights as some kind of remote priority to get this on the governor’s desk…..at least….for Women.
Now, when will the legislators look at the rest of us Arizonans as a priority too?