Monthly Archives: July 2007

Medical care

Today’s NYT has a story on declining numbers of young doctors who want to come to upstate New York to practice. (The story centers on Binghamton.) This is a trend that is affecting wider swaths of rural America as well. Doctors want to go where the money is, and that is in BosWash, not here. Another concern for the huge heap of concerns about upstate life.

Even in the Syracuse area most of the doctors are firmly entrenched in the wealthier eastern suburbs. I only know of two practices in my immediate area, and one of them never appears to take new patients. The last time I dragged myself out to Fayetteville (to a huge relatively new medical complex that shall remain nameless), I came away swearing that I would never go out there again unless I was barfing up a lung. These places are overwhelmed with more patients than they can reasonably handle, and it’s taking a toll on the basic quality of the experience of seeing a doctor. It’s worse than being on an assembly line, and it just didn’t used to be like that. The more medical advances (drugs, tests, procedures) we have, the more the human quality of care (waiting room times, staff helpfulness and friendliness, accuracy) goes down. Maybe this too is a function of local doctor shortages?

“They can go to a big city and make a lot more money, and I can’t blame them,” Ms. Ringsmuth said. “But the doctors who are here are probably overworked. If they can’t figure out what’s wrong with you right away, they send you to somebody else.”

Or they say “Take two ——‘s and call me in the morning, if you can get through, and if my staff correctly wrote down what the details of your complaint were…”

I’m pretty healthy, but quite honestly, alternative medicine may be worth reading up on, if only because it means I wouldn’t have to go out there again. I know I should look for a new doctor, but I’ve been so soured on the medical experience the last couple times, that I don’t feel inclined to even though I know I should be doing it. It gives me a new appreciation of the difficulties that the inner-city poor have in finding access to medical services (and why they go to the emergency room for everything), or information about alternative medicine, for that matter.

Declining returns on investments in complexity…

Newspapers run “Upstate Focus” editorials

Interesting notice in today’s PS:

Today marks the launch of “Upstate Focus,” an editorial project that links newspapers from the Hudson Valley and the Southern Tier through Northern, Central and Western New York. Our goal is to provide readers with a concerted focus on issues of concern to Upstate citizens and taxpayers. We are publishing editorials on an agreed-upon topic on the same day — providing excerpts of each other’s editorials and links to the complete package online. We aim to catch the attention of the governor’s office, state legislators and other policymakers and leaders in a position to improve the quality of life and public policy for all of Upstate.

And here’s the website: Upstate Focus. The papers from Batavia, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Glens Falls, Rochester, Schenectady and Watertown are also participating. (Too bad no Utica/Rome or Norwich?) Today’s focus is on refund checks for state tax rebates.

I wonder how long it took to put together this project, how often it will happen, and if the Buffalo News will always be the one hosting the links to the editorials, or if this hosting will revolve among the other papers.

This of course is a welcome project. I wrote about the implications of upstate New York’s media fragmentation around this time last year. (In the flight from my old server to the new one, a lot of old posts got left behind. That post and other older ones on media can be found here.)

As for STAR, I don’t understand what this deal is with the staggered mailings of the applications, as mentioned in the Binghamton P&SB’s editorial. Are we to believe that a statewide mailing to every region, at the same time, cannot be coordinated and the applications processed? They certainly are able to process our tax forms and payments en masse every spring.

Syracuse Nationals

Yes, it’s once again the social weekend of the season (well, pre-Fair anyway) with the Syracuse Nationals, the Antiquefest and the… uh, whatever-it-is-this-timeFest downtown. Oh, the Bluesfest. (Orange cones on a Thursday afternoon means… FEST TIME!) I went down to Onondaga Lake Park last night to watch the old cars cruise. I don’t know why they didn’t do this sooner, rather than having the cops try to play whack-a-mole with the impromptu drag strips springing up all weekend. (Although I’m sure many of these guys snuck away elsewhere to be naughty after they got done in Liverpool) But I’d love to know why the speed limit on the Parkway was 17 mph (as opposed to 16 mph or 18 mph)?

Sadly, the Morris Major (not an actual Morris Major, but rather a Morris Minor souped up with a ginormous engine) that I loved from a few years ago, was not there this time.