The quality of a nation's, or our area's health care can involve many criteria. The most basic and revealing is the infant mortality (death) rate between birth and age 1. 

A report, based on latest available information from developed and semi-developed nations reveals that the position of the USA is 40th. This puts our health care quality as a nation on the level of that of Croatia.

Looking further, at the state of Kansas, we are also down in the mud as 40th out of the 50 states in the quality of health care (National Center for Vital Statistics). Strikingly, Kansas has the highest infant morality rate for black infants in the nation.

This is a damning condemnation of our state and national health care system. We as citizens can look in the mirror for the cause — it's always someone else, or "them" who can't get health care, surely not "me."

Think again. Even here in Salina, the business of health care is more about business than health care. Be admitted to Salina Regional and you are assigned to a "case manager," tasked to be sure your care will be profitable.

If you are in for surgery, your dismissal information may be posted on a dry board before you are even rolled out of the room for surgery. I kid you not — I've been there when it was done.

I've also seen staff reach around door frames and cancel a patient's call lights without checking them. They aren't bad people, they have too much to do in too little time for too many patients. They are tasked with the very profitable "business" of health care on the run..

This is the state of the business of health care in our nation, state, and region. Pray that you never need serious health care and that if you do, the comptroller, case manager and your insurance company authorize it.

Sixty years ago I would never have imagined that our region, state and nation could be as it is now.

 

— BILL RIORDAN, Salina