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“WHAT’S WITH THIS OBSESSION OVER GLITCHES”

October 4, 2013

A big YES to John Carlsted of St. Cloud today in his STRIB Letter to the Editor!  I could not agree more.  He is absolutely right to challenge the press emphasis on “glitches” as Healthcare options went live.

Most of us have lived through many a system conversion in the last fifty years.  It starts with defining a process; it grows to a “wish list” of what could be automated and what it would cost. Then after the sticker shock, you make adjustments, and if you are lucky, you start to build a system.

On a personal note, during my Carlson Marketing Group life of 14 years, I went through this process portion spending 50% of time for a year in Travel defining a system that was never built, and 100% of my time for a year defining a common system for “Confirmation of a Sale” that involved all products offered within Carlson Marketing Group-also to build a system that never happened- but we did roll out a manual process that was common to all.  All that happens BEFORE you get approval to build.  But I also was involved in many a project that did make it to automated status, and it is no easy task.

It begins again, with months devoted to gathering input and defining requirements; the IT people spend months detailing a system and writing code; they test and test again before user tests begin.  Things don’t work, things were overlooked; user input gives us a better perspective; we regroup and ask for alterations… then IT does a fix and repeat….until finally at some point in time, we declare “it’s ready” ; the training begins and  finally, the system rolls out. 

And within a week (if not a day), you identify something that was not covered or does not work.   So you start that wish list of “Next time we need to do”  vs. “Fix it Now”.

Now I admit, I escaped that world some time ago, and I expect the last twenty years has held improvements to the process that hopefully, cut down development time, improved accuracy, and yield better systems faster.  Nonetheless, there remains a factor of error that is only found once you go live.  That is called a GLITCH in the system.  You identify it, you fix it, you move on.  Welcome to the world of automation.

NEW SOLUTIONS, and NEW SYSTEMS…and they work…until the next automation advancement requires the next system upgrade.

There cannot be a person who works or interfaces with a billing system for services that does not know this.

As we started this journey, we allowed four years to get the process to a point that it was functional. 

Opps;  many a Corporate Business did not allow themselves enough time internally to review, make decision on what they would do with their own employee  healthcare offerings, and “surprise” they are not ready.  Whether they have valid reasons , or were simply hoping the Republicans would get the law changed or cancelled, we will never know – nor is it worth the time, money, and effort to find out.

As implementation approached, it was obvious that some businesses were not ready and as a result PEOPLE WOULD BE HURT.  So the President was forced to grant an implementation extension to the corporate world.  That is not a system failure; that is a problem that rests in Corporate America and the “blame” for that should rest soley there-and perhaps with the Republicans that were telling their corporate friends not to worry- they would repeal it.  This was not a Republican victory; it is merely evidence of the havoc they have been creating. 

As a democracy, there is a legitimate process to follow.  They tried; they pushed all the way to the Supreme Court, but the Court ruled Healthcare Constitutional and the majority ruled.  The 2012 election was their last chance; vote Obama out and vote Romney in so Affordable Healthcare will disappear. They lost.  Now, if they were the majority party, they would have had one last chance – to try to pass a law to appeal it.  But alas for the Repos, they did not win.

The good news in this part of the process is that at least if you are employed in a corporation, most likely you have some sort of insurance…and if not, you are eligible to apply for insurance via the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Meanwhile, the system is now in the final TEST, and wisely, we allowed three months to find and correct the glitches before we go live.  It is up and running.  MnSure is up and running.  We have glitches; they will be corrected.

Soon, the 47% of the US population that the Republicans care nothing about will have health insurance…not as good health insurance as that which the Republicans in Congress have and will have for LIFE because they ran for Congress, won, and tried to stop YOU from getting health insurance, but nevertheless, millions more Americans will have insurance.  That is a good thing.

Not only is it a good thing for citizens, but is a good thing for the country.  It is a safety net you may not think you need….until you do.

 And I speak from experience.  After saving for retirement for over 30 years, I fell.  The insurance I could afford (at almost $1000 a month for individual insurance for my business) was not enough.  That insurance and my lifetime savings were not enough.  I emerged owing $75,000 more than all the assets I had.  I went back to work fulltime in 2007.  There has not been enough time to recover, finish paying the debt and replace retirement funds.  With the Affordable Healthcare Act, you have a chance to not have this happen to you!

What happened to me and so many others is only one reason to look at the Healthcare system.  More importantly , this process has forced the healthcare system in general to take a look at itself.  I believe it is no coincidence that providers are looking at their own practices….are there alternatives at less cost?  If not, should we be researching for alternatives at less cost?  What can we do differently?  Are there better models of medical practices that work better for patient care?  How should patients be billed? No, you won’t hear that from the daily press, but pick up a newspaper and you will find evidence of this shift in thinking every day.

OBAMACARE GAME SCORE:  SERFS 1; LORDS 0.

 

 

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