Budget Problems - Healthcare
How the Medical Field Has Felt the Impact
What does the medical field have to do with the budget?
This is an Illinois nursing home
This is a protest that is going on. The people are opposing the cuts being made on the elderly in nursing homes. Their shirts say "Hold the Line." The colorful sign says, "Caution: Nursing Home Residents at Risk."
This is an elderly woman making a holiday card with the help of another woman.
Interview of Roger McClintock, M.D.
2. How has the budget crisis in healthcare affected your profession recently?
"In a nutshell, I have had more responsibilities when it comes to referring patients. Before, I could refer patients to any specialists they needed to see or to any facilities they needed to visit. As these places are losing funds and these people are unable to take in new patients, more is left up to me. I have to give specialty care to patients when I don't even have the right training to do that. It all puts the primary doctors in a really bad spot."
3. Do you routinely visit patients from nursing homes?
"Yes. I go to nursing homes about every six weeks."
4. Since the lack of funding to the nursing homes, what have you noticed as you visited there?
"First off, I want to say that the people who work there are great people. They are hardworking and they are doing the best that they can with limited resources. It is obvious to me when I visit that they are short on staff, and the facility as a whole is not kept clean or in working condition as well. The lack of funding definitely shows."
5. How has your job changed since the cut in funding to mental health facilities in the area?
"As I said before, the healthcare cuts make it difficult for me to refer patients to where they need to go. I am only the primary doctor; if things get out of my line of expertise, I refer them to specialists. For mentally ill patients, I often have to send them to various centers in the area for extra help. These centers are losing their funding because there is no budget to give them the allocations they need. Therefore, I have nowhere to send these people."
6. Besides nursing homes and mental health, in what other areas have you witnessed problems caused by the budget crisis?
"The biggest area I have witnessed problems in would be with vaccinations. Illinois has a service called Vaccines for Children, and it is in charge of immunizations that can be given to patients all across the state. The funding in this area has gone down, so immunizations have been limited lately. Many primary care doctors across the state are not able to give out all of the vaccines to children that they need. We are taking the risk by doing so; if they don't get their meningitis shot, they could acquire it. It's a disaster that young children can't always get the shots that they need."