Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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LONSBERRY: Hochul is Destroying Healthcare

 It’s hard to know whether Kathy Hochul’s approach to health care is sheer incompetence, or a purposeful attempt to collapse an industry.


               Either way, her brief tenure has already reduced both the quality and quantity of health care in New York, making access difficult and delayed, and unavoidably reducing the standard of care.


               And the stupid just keeps piling up.


               Like her effort to train 600 National Guard emergency medical technicians to temporarily work in understaffed nursing homes.


               EMTs don’t work in nursing homes. They work on ambulances. The skills of an EMT – providing stabilizing first aid in the event of injury or acute illness – are almost never used in nursing homes. Yes, EMTs can take a set of vitals, and adjust the levels on somebody’s oxygen tank, but that’s it.


               Certified nursing assistants, on the other hand, are specifically trained to look after patients in long-term care situations.


               Training National Guardsmen to be CNAs would make sense, and be tremendously easier. It takes 170 hours of classroom instruction to become an EMT, and just 75 hours to become a CNA. So, Kathy Hochul could have trained the guardsmen to do exactly what’s needed in 75 hours, but instead she chose to train them for something completely different over a period more than twice as long.


               That means the wrong skills delivered in twice the time at far more expense.


               That means this administration has its head up its arse.


               And that’s just one example.


               Another is the breathless announcement that four teams of military medics are coming to Syracuse and Rochester to provide staffing relief at two hospitals.


               Next week, for a month.


               To handle a surge that ended two weeks ago.


               Just as it was announced that New York covid infection rates had fallen 94% in three weeks, and that the lagging falloff in hospitalizations had commenced, smiling Kathy announced that she was coming to the rescue. At Strong Memorial Hospital and at Upstate University Medical Center, the federal government is going to assign two teams of 20 people each at both hospitals.


               Also, 110 federal-contract ambulances will idle in various parking lots, waiting to take covid patients to the hospital.


               Ostensibly, all of this is to relieve overburdened staffs.


               Which is a good idea.


               If this is the first week in January.


               But it’s not. It’s a month later, and the omicron wave has passed, and hospitals are feeling their way toward what will probably be the new endemic normal.


               Simply put, New York hospitals don’t need these FEMA teams anymore. Kathy and Chuck and Joe have sent them too late. But because the hospitals need state and federal money, their lips are firmly on the politicians’ backsides, and they are doing TV-news cartwheels in feigned gratitude.


               While the just-cresting omicron wave in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest means that those hospitals will continue to be overburdened for the next two or three weeks – while FEMA assets are squandered in New York.


               But those are just two examples.


               Another is smiling Kathy’s promise to build a bigger and better army of health care workers for the future. She wants billions here and billions there and she wants to recruit people into the field to build a better day.


               Which is pretty interesting, seeing as how she personally pushed tens of thousands of experienced and compassionate nurses, doctors and others out of the profession. Her vaccine mandate, forced on the heath care business as a demonstration of her personal power, created immediate and widespread worker shortages.


               And it destroyed the incomes and careers of countless New Yorkers who merely believed that their body should be their choice.


               To add injury to insult, she denied those people enhanced unemployment benefits available to everyone else in the state, and she is cutting them out of the “covid bonus” she is proposing for health care workers who served during the pandemic.


               Even as it became obvious that the current vaccine-and-boost regimen was useless against the transmission of covid, Kathy Hochul insisted that submission to her mandate was a condition of employment in all of the state’s hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices.


               And that crashed the nursing homes, which crashed the hospitals, which made this mess in the first place.


               And now, the grinning fool who created the problem assures us in her daily TV-camera preening session that her inspired leadership will save us all.


               When it will do nothing of the sort.


               Kathy Hochul has reverse-Midas syndrome – everything she touches turns to crap.


               That’s undeniable.


               The only thing that’s uncertain, when it comes to health care, is whether or not she’s doing it on purpose.


               The Democrats decided they wanted to take over the medical business, but recognized that they had to break it first, so they could look like saviors coming in to save the day.


               That’s where Kathy Hochul is on health care.


               She broke it. And now she wants you to think she’s going to fix it.


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