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Sunday, April 29, 2007

"The Contingency Bridge"

An excerpt from one of HLG's commentors.

By: John Haines

CONTINGENCY is a must. We cannot rely on the inabilities or lack of effective action by Congress to impede the already unforeseen consequences of Retrogression. For Schedule A, the bridge connects stupidity and rationality. Without it, we remain on the “stupidity” side of the equation. One which I am becoming more familiar after the last retrogression in 2005.

Our sourcing company has over 100 RN's (with another 100 plus in process) who have been waiting months to get their visa numbers stamped to finally gain entrance and work at various Hospitals throughout the United States. Others, already here, are unable to bring their families (spouses and children) to the US from their country of origin.

For Schedule A (RN's and PT's) WHAT IS THERE TO LOOSE by not providing a contingency? Plenty !

1) After hurdling for a year or more over all the prerequisites to gain final entry into the US Healthcare Workforce as an RN or PT (NCLEX, CGFNS, IELTS, TOEFL/TSE, State Regulatory License, NPTE, etc.) they get the door slammed shut because of an absurd way in which US visa numbers are allocated AND / OR counted.

2) These RN’s and PT’s have changed their lives to get here (US). They have sacrificed their personal life and professional careers. The longer Retrogression goes unresolved the more irreparable financial and psychological damage will occur.

What does the US have to loose ? Even More !

1) The RN’s and PT’s who have been waiting, and continue to wait, have other opportunities around the globe (with much less stringent requirements and/or immigration regulations). They will quickly take positions elsewhere in the world. The Healthcare Shortage is not unique to the US. Many may never come the US as a result of Retrogression.

2) Hospitals have no-where else to go for resources. There is a clear inability to provide requisite supply to meet demand. This is a demographic reality. The “Perfect Storm” has been established and documented by the US Government (Federal and State), Industry Associations, Private Enterprise, etc. Several factors exist such as: The Aging of the US Population, The Aging of the RN Workforce (currently at 50yrs old), The lack of Nurse Educators.

3) For each RN and/or PT that is denied entry, the US Healthcare system will spend an additional $4,800 per month and rising every month (into perpetuity) in an attempt to staff the position. Not good for a nation that has, by far, the most expensive healthcare on the planet.

4) OUR HEALTHCARE ! The “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (please excuse the metaphor) are being held by our own Government. It is their inability to intervene and address the issue head on. The “Mass Destruction” will occur at US Hospitals. Perhaps it is the ego’s of our Congressmen who want their version of CIR Approved. In the meantime, hospital beds will remain vacant due to RN Shortages, hospitals will continue to bleed expenses and possibly go out of business, Medicare/Medicaid will be directly effected, Patient Safety will be negatively impacted, RN Turnover and RN Vacancies will increase. I think I could write a book on the indirect impact of the aforementioned.

5) US Businesses involved in providing these services to Hospitals and Healthcare Companies will be severely impacted. I saw many go out of business in 2005, I see many that have left or plan to close doors as Retrogression progresses.

We are greatly mistaken if we acquiesce to ability of Congress to pass CIR later this summer. More importantly, what happens if they cannot agree and we enter 2008 which is a Presidential election year ? Answer: Congressional Gridlock.

Congress needs to take prudent action and deliver a temporary “Contingency” to Retrogression. There are over 60,000 plus Unused Visa Numbers that can be allocated (10,000 more than in 2005). This can provide the “temporary fix” until CIR gets resolved and passed. It will cost US Taxpayers NOTHING. On the contrary it will save lives, money and aggravation. This is a “NO BRAINER” and a win, win, win all around. On the other hand, everyone looses in nothing gets resolved.

Ignorance is not bliss.

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