Letters to the Editor

Hospital helps gut middle-class

First, and foremost, it is 8 cents a line, not 80 (Whidbey News-Times, Sept. 10, “Whidbey General workers upset as jobs outsourced”), and it comes out to a paltry wage. Secondly, Webmedx has just recently been bought by, and is now a subsidiary of, Nuance, a company who does off-shore to India.  They probably keep a few newly purchased companies such as Webmedx around for those hospitals who don’t want their medical records off-shored, or think they aren’t (WGH, you may want to check back with Webmedx — cough, cough — Nuance, in a year). Yes, you are supporting a company who off-shores to India.

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is now a joke as far as any credence in the true American medical transcription (MT) world. They began as a champion of the MT but long ago sold out to large MT corporations for donations, which are simply a tax write-off. Laughably, another off-shoring company for whom I used to work “gave” us a Christmas bonus of donating to AHDI “in our names.” Oh, and a tube of lip balm with the company logo. We did not get the tax break. Furthermore, AHDI continues to tout credentialing to MTs under the guise they will make a higher wage, all while jobs are going overseas with the companies from whom they accept donations. So, any award they would give means nothing except perhaps a notch in a CEO’s belt somewhere.

As to the voice recognition technology? An extremely experienced MT can produce perhaps a quarter to a third more, but certainly not the “double production” that is touted by the MT companies. The difference is we now do it for half the pay and fewer benefits, which were not exorbitant to begin with. It is our knowledge and experience that make a legible, concise medical-legal report, not just our fingers. These companies continue to raise production quotas by holding our benefits over our heads if we don’t meet them, and then they overhire so one must be practically chained to the computer 24/7 just to meet these continually increasing demands.

It makes getting a second job virtually impossible. I know, I tried it. We are expected to survive on rupees, but we don’t live in India. Many will say, Go back to school! Learn something new! I may very well have to, but I don’t relish the thought of having thousands of dollars of school loans going into my 60s, if I can even get hired at that age to a full-time job with benefits by the time I’m done with school.

So, sorry, WGH, we can’t afford to help pay for your bonds. Perhaps you can ask Webmedx/Nuance for help. They certainly will have the money, because the employees who work for them won’t. This is a prime example of middle-class America continuing to be gutted out and you have contributed to it. You, WGH, may eventually have to sell out to a large corporation yourself, but don’t expect your jobs to be secure if you do.

Ann Sanders
Oak Harbor


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