The Economy

Cost Cutting Satire

By an Anonymous Nurse

Joe Johnson, a frequent contributor to Socialist Viewpoint’s Letters to the Editor, sent the following from a friend. He lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. —Socialist Viewpoint

To: All Staff

From: Administration/Grounds-keeping

Subject: New Cost Cutting Measures

This hospital will no longer provide security. Each Charge Nurse will be issued a .38 caliber revolver and 12 rounds of ammunition. An additional 12 rounds will be stored in the pharmacy. In addition to routine nursing duties, Charge Nurses will rotate patrolling the hospital grounds. A bicycle and helmet will be provided for patrolling the parking areas. In light of the similarity of monitoring equipment, ICU will now take over the security surveillance duties. The unit secretary will be responsible for watching cardiac and security monitors as well as continuing previous secretarial duties.

Food Service will be discontinued. Patients wishing to be fed will need to let their families know to bring something, or make arrangements with Subway, Dominos, etc. before meal time. Coin operated telephones will be available in rooms for this purpose as well as for other calls the patients may wish to make.

Housekeeping and Physical Therapy are being combined. Mops will be issued to patients who are ambulatory, thus providing range-of-motion exercise as well as a clean environment. Families and ambulatory patients may also sign up to clean the rooms of non-ambulatory patients for discounts from their final bill. Time cards will be provided.

As you can see on the “From” line above, Administration is assuming Grounds-keeping duties. If an administrator cannot be reached by calling his/her office, it is suggested you walk outside and listen for the sound of a lawnmower, weed-whacker, etc.

Engineering is being eliminated. The Hospital has subscribed to the TimelLife “How To ... series of maintenance books. These books can be checked out from administration, and a toolbox will be standard equipment on all nursing units. We will be receiving the series at the rate of one volume every other month. We already have the volume on Basic Wiring, but if a non-electrical problem occurs, please try to handle it as best you can until the appropriate volume arrives.

Cutbacks in the phlebotomy staff will be accommodated by only performing blood-related lab tests on patients who are already bleeding.

Physicians will be informed that they may order no more than two x-rays per patient per stay. This is due to the turn-around time required by Walgreen’s photo lab. Two prints will be provided for the price of one so physicians are being advised to clip coupons from the Sunday paper if they want extra sets. Walgreen’s will also honor competitor’s coupons for one-hour processing in emergency situations, so if you come across any of these please clip them and send them to the ER.

In light of hot summer temperatures, I & M has been asked to install individual meters in each patient room, office, etc. so that electrical consumption can be monitored and appropriately billed. Fans will be available for sale or lease in the Hospital gift shop.

In addition to the current recycling program, a bin for the collection of unused fruit and bread will soon be provided on each floor. Families, patients and the few remaining employees are encouraged to contribute discarded produce. The resultant moldy compost will be utilized by the pharmacy, and will, coincidentally, soon be the only antibiotics listed on the HMO’s formulary.