Gina Gamble and the Biggest Business in Central New York

On Friday, December 14, around 7:20 p.m., I went to Crouse Hospital’s Prompt Care.  I was signed in by Patient Access Representative Johanna Schell.  She handed me an electronic sign-in box and asked me to sign for them to access my electronic medical records.

I don’t sign things I haven’t read (Judge Judy is constantly on my conscience), so I asked to see what I was signing.  She gave me the HealtheConnections Consent Form.  It was two pages long, which Ms Schell had condensed into a single sentence.

I checked the “deny consent” box, signed it, and asked for a copy.  Ms Schell headed toward the photocopier when she was stopped by her coworker.  Patient Access Rep Gina Gamble told her that she could not give me a copy.  She said it was now part of my medical record and I would have to go to Medical Records to get a copy.

In view of the fact that I was the only one who had set a pen to this paper, I thought that was insane.  Notes written by others were not being released, only my own signature.  I simply will not play these games with the medical industry, so I took back the form and refused any further interaction on the subject.

While waiting to see the care provider, I read the HealtheConnections Consent Form.  On page 2, item 9 says “Copy of Form.  You are entitled to get a copy of this Consent Form after you sign it.”

On my way out, I again spoke to Ms Schell.  She stated that she’d only been on the job three months, that Gina Gamble (who no longer was present) had been there several years, and that she and Gamble occupied parallel positions—Gamble was not her supervisor.

So this is a complaint against Gina Gamble.  In the first place, she was dead wrong about me getting a copy of the form; she didn’t know what she was doing.  In the second place, she should have been minding her own business instead of monitoring what was going on between her coworker and another patient.  Gamble has utterly failed to stay behind proper boundaries and in so doing she has driven me out of the system.  You will never get my consent to access my electronic data.

One of my major complaints against the American medical industry is that it creates frontline workers who take the minimal power they have and abuse it.  In the name of medical care, petty clerks push patients around.  This does not happen in any other industry.  I don’t get this when I go to the mall, grocery shopping or the library.

In government, the issues of petty frontline workers tend to be about rigidity, not power.  The frontline worker is not going to go along with anything the citizen suggests, but in medicine it’s different.  There is a heritage of arrogance.  This traces straight up the line to the arrogance of physicians who give orders.  They do not make suggestions or give advice; they role-model giving orders and it gets passed down the line until you get moron-ninnies bullying patients.

The relationship between the patient and the medical industry has been totally corrupted.  What once was a relationship between a doctor, a patient, and the chicken the patient offered in payment to the physician, has now become big business involving insurance companies and government.  Pharmaceuticals, and medical products and equipment, rank as the third and fourth largest industries in American (source:  Forbes 500).  According to Wikipedia, “The health care industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries.[3] Consuming over 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of most developed nations, health care can form an enormous part of a country’s economy.”

According to the Post-Standard, the top seven employers in Central New York include three hospitals and a nursing home; the biggest employer is SUNY Upstate Medical Center and yet, when you search on “leading industry,” you find absolutely no mention of health care.  “Industry” is defined as “economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories,” and “a particular form or branch of economic or commercial activity: ‘the tourist industry.’”

As a society, we are willfully blind.  Medical care is our biggest business but we won’t even count it.  Tourism, yes; medical care, no.  And, as a business, medical care is an abomination.  Physicians are notoriously poor money managers, hence the growing business of medical financial managers.  (I posit a direct negative correlation:  The better your physician is as a businessman, the worse he is as a medical care provider; the two skill-sets are incompatible.  The wise physician marries or parents a person with good business sense.)

Likewise, quality control in the medical industry is dreadful.  I once kept track of the errors I was being subjected to and it ran at about 25%.  The doctor ordered a “K” test—potassium; the lab intake clerk insisted that K was iron.  The physician ordered a drug that he had previously ascertained no longer was on the market.  An untrained hospital aide mishandled and thereby damaged medical equipment.  Abnormal test results were put in my file without ever notifying me.  The list is endless.  Imagine what would happen if the automobile industry was running at a 25% error rate.

Additionally, this major industry’s people-management is atrocious.  Hospitals have relatively few middle-aged nurses because they are burning out their own workforce.  Supervisors rarely are in the same workspace as the employees they are supposed to be supervising.   Non-professional staff members appear to be hired for their ability to be subservient to their medical bosses, not to think for themselves or exercise good business judgment.

And so we come back to Gina Gamble, the end result of an abominable, dreadful, atrocious major industry that we pretend is just “Uncle Doctor,” a benign man who has your best interests at heart.  Gina, heir to an arrogant system of giving orders—and whose supervisor is only accessible by phone—has just driven a patient out of the medical data-sharing system. 

The medical care industry is one of our biggest businesses and is grossly mismanaged.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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6 Responses to Gina Gamble and the Biggest Business in Central New York

  1. Morgan Taylor says:

    You’re a nut job!!! Seriously, do you not understand that to get medical treatment, the Doctor and or allied healthcare staff has to have access to your “electronic medical records”! By not signing that document, which is only a “consent to treat”, you are only limiting YOUR care by medical professionals. Do you have a driver’s license, a credit card, a car registration, this blog?!!! You are giving everyone and their brother access to your personal information. Please do stay “out iof the system” as you total inept ability to understand common practices only delay the process for those of us that do understand the necessities of life. Stay home and stay out of the way of societies progress!

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Wow–you’re not only ignorant but also mean! Do you not understand that to get medical treatment, all the doctor (which is not a capitalized word) and medical care staff need to do is ASK ME? There I am, intelligent and aware, and I am fully competent to answer any questions. In the event that I am not fully aware, they can–and will–access my medical records without my permission. The HealtheConnections release form IS NOT a “consent to treat.” They are two separate and entirely different forms. I am NOT limiting my care; I am not limiting the doctor’s opportunity to treat me, merely limiting his opportunity to listen to what other doctors have said about me. What if they were wrong and biase this doctor’s chance to get it right? The HealtheConnections form will release ALL the patient’s medical records–everything that exists in electronic form from the moment of birth to the current day. The history of the human race is that doctors treated what they could see; they examined the patient and did tests. Out of all the history of the human race, it is only in the past year that this onerous electronic record has existed. You will no longer have the right to decide what information to give your doctor; he will get everything from other doctors, but I suppose that’s all right with you. Your erroneous capitalization of “doctor” suggests that you think doctors are very, very important people and you have surrendered control of your life to them. They are frequently wrong.

      I do not have a driver’s license or car registration; I have an power wheelchair. I also have a psychiatric history–not present, history. Once a doctor finds out that I have been treated for depression, s/he stops listening to me. By preventing them from accessing my psych history, they are forced to deal with my real and present medical problems. In 2010, I was admitted to hospital for treatment of pneumonia, diabetes and a urinary tract infection, all of which were complicated by immune dysfunction, type unknown. The doctor knew nothing about immunology so he tried to get me transferred to the psych unit–for the treatment of pneumonia!

      There is a big difference between releasing your age, income and whatever personals you have in mind, and releasing OPINIONS. I would have no problem at all releasing x-rays or lab test results because they are objective and true. What I will not release are the opinions of doctors, most of whom are not as smart as I am, and all of whom have been trained up in a system that puts money ahead of understanding. Releasing all your medical records is not a “common practice”; it is a practice that has only been in progress for a year and relatively few people have signed up for it. It is not a “necessity of life,” as explained above. It is not “society’s progress” (please learn the difference between possessive and plural). It is a bit of technological progress that is being forced on us by the government.

      In short, your opinion is not based on facts. Please shut up.

  2. Morgan Taylor says:

    You concentrate on the proper use of grammar vs. real issues. However, you yourself do not utilize basic grammar rules. For example, “capitilize any title when it is used as a direct address : What is wrong Doctor?. Correct use of a title. I do not think doctors are “very, very, important people” that I have “surrendered my life to”. It’s quite apparent that you are a paranoid person with ideations of grandeure, and the best you have is “your opinion is not based on facts, please shut up”. You seem I’ll equipped to divulge all off your pertinent past and previous medical records, which is why healthcare officials ask for records. Believe it or not, your past medical history, (all of it, not just the edited version you talk about) can be relevant and pertinent to your current medical complaint. S, once again you demonstrate your total lack of understanding regarding the
    current medical model. I’m glad you don’t have a car, I feel safer now. God help us all if you decided to drive and debate the rules of the road with a law enforcement officer. If your age a credit card, bank account, receive disability checks/social security, and or Medicare or Medicaid- you most certainly have more records on file with the US Government than you realize. I can only pray my working hard every day is not supporting your pointless banter. I replied to your superfluous blog to educate you, to try and help your misguided thought process, but I can see that’s a mute point. Good luck with your obtuse misguided rants. But I digress…

    PS- I’m sure you’ll correct my grammar and sentence structure, but I already have an advanced degree and I’m almost done with my PhD, so your petty childish behavior will not contribute in any meaningful way to society i dare say. (If this post gets published, I’ll be shocked.)

    • annecwoodlen says:

      I obey all the laws. Sharing medical records is not a law; it is a choice. My body belongs to me and only me, and I alone will decide what information I choose to share about it.

      You misunderstand what “direct address” means (and there are no close-quotes on your quotation). You used “Doctor” in a sentence, not as a direct address, such as “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” When talking about doctors in general then the word is not capitalized; when addressing a specific doctor by name then it is. All honorific titles are capitalized before a name, e.g., Dr. Green, the noted gynecologist, or Rev. Sharpless, my pastor, or Chairman Mao.

      I used to be a university editor. You claim nearly three academic degrees but continue to be slovenly and/or uninformed in your writing and thinking, e.g., there is a difference between “moot” and “mute.” Your arrogant attempt to educate me is misplaced. I am older and smarter than you are.

      Meet me at sunrise in the quad and we’ll duke it out. (If you have a sense of humor, I’ll be shocked.)

  3. Morgan Taylor says:

    Ms. Woodlen,
    Be careful, what you purplish about “named ” individuals in your blog could be slander and considered ” per se” defamation of character…

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