Friday, November 25, 2011

The Juggernaut strikes back

AFD's $635,000 Quint

So apparently Bernette A. Daly, director of UMass Health Services, reads the local newspapers as today's Gazette contains a reply to concerns from Amherst Fire Department chief Tim Nelson that his already overburdened department will pick up the slack created by the cost cutting hours reduction UHS will institute in January.

Of course the Chief will be too nice to respond to the response, so I'll do it for him: poppycock!

First off, the $346,000 Ms. Daly cites as payments to the town from UMass for ambulance services seems like a lot...until you factor in the $4 million operation cost of AFD with 25% of their time spent servicing UMass.

And the amount looks downright stingy when you compare the $1,100,000 Payment In Lieu Of Taxes Burlington, with the same population as Amherst, receives from the University of Vermont (9,000 undergrads, 1,350 grad students)--three times what the significantly larger University of Massachusetts (20,000 undergrads, 5,000 grad students) pays Amherst!

That $1.1 million is for fire services only as the University of Vermont has its own ambulance service--which it provides to the town.

Ms Daley freely admits, "The clinic treats an average of just four to seven patients after 8 p.m. weeknights, and about half that many on weekends." So what are those folks going to do when UHS is closed during their time of need? Certainly many of them--since the Cooley Dickinson Hospital is such a long walk--are going to call AFD.

On the night before the great Halloween weekend storm, at one point all five Amherst ambulances were engaged (dealing with passed out drunk students), so just one extra call that night would have overtaxed the system.

While it may indeed make economic sense to reduce the hours at UHC, it is still irresponsible for the University to reap those savings by passing the problem along to somebody else.

Director of UHS response to Chief Nelson

AFD Chief Tim Nelson


Anonymous said...

In a way, she is right that it won't change AFD response much since they usually just pick the drunk fools up at the party sites or dorms and not at the clinic. But as a parent I'd be a little concerned my student would have to cross a bridge for help.

Ed said...

To ensure that patients have support during off hours, UHS will continue to provide a 24-hour on-call nurse and mental health counselor with physician back-up.

Larry, this "telephone call line" is completely useless and actually dangerous as folk might waste time with i.

I have had occasion to actually need a medical opinion on something -- more than once -- and I would have done better to call the host of your "party house of the week" -- while the party was ongoing....

Now I have a degree in Student Affairs. I was a volunteer firefighter in the days of "Scoop & Run", I don't mind making high stakes decisions and I have always gotten them right (so far). And while we can argue about maturity, I am a tad older than the average undergraduate.

Everyone knows that "Ed will do something" and thus I have been asked to help -- and it is in the context of this that I have tried to get specific information from Death Services and, well, never again.

"Have Support"?!?! What alternate dimension of reality is Bernie whatever-her-last-name-is in?

I would have settled for some basic medical facts, as in answers to specific questions. And if this is my reaction, well then I know how an undergrad would feel.

Oh, and forget being able to complain about any of this -- you can't even meet with Bernie -- I have been trying for some time.

And the worst part -- why are we paying someone to sit in there to allegedly "provide" this advice? If you are closing the place down, then CLOSE it and have CDH answer your phone for you, like other colleges do.

Ed said...

One other thing -- the figure of ambulance transports she gives is those that Death Services sent to the hospital (including psych ward), it does NOT include all the ones that it did *not* do so for.

So do the math -- take the number of people she says they see, less the AFD transports equals the number of AFD transports that weren't necessary.

Anonymous said...

From years of experience with UHS, I know that they are very good at putting people off -- some times with disastrous results. I was told once that if someone fell sick in the parking lot outside, they would have to call an ambulance, who could only bring them to CDH.

Anonymous said...

statistics are never right...forgot to mention that UHS runs the health services at amherst college and hamshire many calls went to those 2 institutions...also if the numbers were just for saturday and sunday over the 24-26 weekends for the academic year but not 5 to 6 a week covering 7 days a week for 52 weeks....then you would see an overburden and overabundance of calls on the weekends....or put in the calls when ambulances are stationed outside the mullins center for special events (concerts)....i worked at UHS for years on the weekends during the school year and it was not as quite as described in the letter

Ed said...

Larry -- I meant to counter what either Bernie or one of her people posted on your blog about student insurance but that was the night the UM internet died -- and I will do it here and now.

See pg 10. If UHS is closed and the kid has to go to the hospital, the student has to pay 40% of the total cost! -- otherwise the student has to pay 15% of the total cost + $250

This is not what Romneycare was intending to mandate -- and as a UM Trustee candidly said at a public meeting recently, Blue Cross can offer a hell of a lot better deal than this.

This is Death Services at its finest -- screw the students, screw the employees, screw the town -- and then lie about it all.

Hey Bernie, you ain't gonna tell everyone that they didn't read what they just did on the aetna website, are you? Really?

Yes, this insurance meets the mandate of college kids having to have insurance, but as to the 'affordability' mandate of Romney care -- it is not supposed to!

Ed said...

The other point not being made here -- since they don't advertise that they are open, students don't know they are -- and thus the 911 calls for kids who otherwise could be carried over to UHS.

Do all the drunk kids need to go to the hospital? NO! Should someone sober with some medical knowledge check them out - yes. Isn't this why we have a uhs in the first place?

Or should we even have one?

OR -- is UM trying to support the financially struggling CDH with all of this????

Anonymous said...

Do everything that happens in town have to generate a conspiracy theory?

Ed said...

Do everything that happens in town have to generate a conspiracy theory

First, it is "does", not "do" because "everyTHING" is singular an thus you need to stay singular because those of us who aren't overly bright are presuming you are following the protocols of grammar so that we can understand you.

And Second, a couple of years back, a rather obnoxious undergraduate wanted a copy of the contract between UMass and Aetna -- I was actually hoping that Bernie would give it to him, all 500 pages or whatnot, and let him try to figure it out. (It would have kept him quiet for a couple of weeks -- and thus not bothering me for a couple of weeks, but I digress.)

(Larry, pay attention here!)

UM/Bernie Melby refused to release it under some obscure exemption to the law. It didn't make sense then, it makes less now -- and the bottom line is if they didn't have something to hide, they would have released the info.

OK, Death Services, you have lost my trust on this, too.

And Bernie, I suspect that if you were to give Larry a copy of the contract, he would post it -- and if he doesn't/wont, Enku knows how to reach me, and I *will.*

Facts matter, and if you give me a legitimate copy of the contract and provide confirmation that it is autentic, I will post it on the web, even if it makes me look like an idiot. And I suspect that Larry would post the relevant portions here....

Not that I really expect to ever see the contract because I suspect (fear) that the obnoxious undergrad was right on this one...