A monumental problem has perplexed citizens of the United States for three decades. That is, of course, how to find a cup of coffee for under three bucks. But the Starbucks’ racketeering scheme is not the focus of today’s column. Today’s column is about hospital emergency rooms. Let’s begin by breaking down the meaning of the word Emergency. “Emer” which is Latin for, “My spleen has ruptured”, and “gency” which translates in the Greek to, “Can’t this ambulance travel any faster?!” Every day across America, people stream into hospital emergency rooms who are desperate, in need of help, lost, and in pain. And the cause of their distress is the hordes of patients demanding their attention. This has resulted in average wait times of four to six months and bills that rival Nicaragua’s annual gross domestic product. Let me triage their plight, and identify a comprehensive solution. Here is the Dr. Edwards’ two-step cure for what ails America’s ERs:
Cure 1. Eliminate waiting areas. Get rid of them completely. Lease the space to Starbucks. If someone can survive an hour in a waiting area, there is no emergency. It doesn’t exist. Instruct the person to vacate the premises immediately.
Cure 2. The average emergency bill is roughly $1,500. For this, you get a paper gown that exposes your hinny and 4.5 seconds of a bleary-eyed doctor with a vast 14 days’ of experience checking your throat and telling you to go home. Under the Dr. Edwards’ plan, we will switch to a metered system. The receptionist slaps an electronic meter around your neck at check-in. Every time a nurse, doctor, or anyone wearing a smock, actually pays attention to you, they push the meter’s “on” button. When they walk away from you, they push the “off.” (Or….. maybe we could put a device on the staff which did this automatically? Nooooooooo. Nix that. Doctors and nurses would be zigzagging around like roller skaters on the rink trying to pick up time. We go with the neck meter). You only pay for the attention you get. You want to improve service? You want to feel cared for? Medical personal will appear from the woodwork hanging on you from the second you hit the door. Let’s just say coffee consumption and back room gossip sessions will quickly become a thing of the distant past.
There you have it. Two simple changes. They can be implemented as soon as we get Starbucks to lease the empty space. Then we’ll all be able to afford those $3 coffees.
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