Higher standards for X-ray techs
Is a licensed professional taking your X-rays?
Did you know that in the state of Washington, only six hours of HIV/AIDS training is required to take diagnostic X-rays in a professional setting?
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This training has nothing to do with radiation safety, proper positioning of body parts being X-rayed, or how to tell whether the film has the proper contrast and density to be diagnostic.
Our state has stricter requirements for massage therapists, hair cutters and food handlers than for taking potentially dangerous X-rays on patients.
Working in radiology, we have students from accredited programs intern. I see them struggle to produce diagnostic X-ray films even after classroom and clinical training.
It’s important for our state to require higher standards to operate a diagnostic X-ray machine. The public should also demand higher standards.
You wouldn’t want to travel with an airline that saved money by training the flight attendants to fly the plane. Then why would you let the lab tech, or even a secretary, take X-rays?
Think about it. Your hair will grow back if you get a bad cut, but when you have a nonprofessional take your X-rays, you can’t be sure if it’s of diagnostic quality. Important health information can be missed because of improper positioning, density and contrast selection.
Demand higher standards in our state. Requiring schooling will not put people out of jobs. It will put more highly educated persons in a job, which will be safer for patients.
HELEN GILCHRIST, Lacey
There are other care solutions
Why not expand the Federally Qualified Health Centers as our public option?
“They are popular and efficient government programs,” wrote Bob Herbert in the Aug. 14 New York Times. He cited Sen. Bernie Sanders bill S.703, to increase funding from $2 billion to $8 billion in 2014, like Rep. Jim McDermott’s 2007 bill H.R. 1200. But if it was more, there is our public option.
Without mandates, matching grants to nonprofit hospitals could add health care such as child births and routine surgeries for 100 million Americans, without any new insurance policies at half the cost. There is competition for grants and with private insurance.
Enact a healthy America tax on junk food, tobacco, liquor and $1 per gallon of gas. Put 5 cents plus 3 percent of wages into Social Security/Medicare, which also helps our national debt. Since politicians promised no rise in taxes, give a $500 per year taxpayer refund that nonfilers won’t get. Then anyone can seek care depending on clinic policies.
Matching funds will come from opt-in states’ current programs, charities, unions and a sliding scale co-pay. Use mostly $5 generic prescriptions. It’s a space available model. For extreme care a miracle lottery gives hope, which is good medicine too — better than being denied coverage now.
If this works, expand it. Take home more pay, buy a little extra private insurance for specialty care, private rooms, lost wages, etc.
Other reforms should be legislated separately. The most practical public option is expansion of the successful FQHCs.
BILL THOMAS, Olympia
Don’t invest in corrupt government
Should we waste more American lives and borrow billions more dollars to fight where tribes have never gotten along well with each other or with outsiders?
Is the corrupt Afghanistan government worth fighting for?
It reminds me of my first trip to Vietnam, in 1993. My plane ticket from Hanoi read Saigon, not Ho Chi Minh City. My guide was a local man in his 30s. I asked him what he did during the war. He said he was a Saigon schoolteacher.
“I had a moto and several cute girlfriends. There was fighting all around, but it wasn’t my war. It was the Americans’ war. Why should I get involved? Our government wasn’t worth fighting for,” he said.
My wife was a physician with USAID in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1979. She trained Afghan Mujahideen how to give first aid to their comrades fighting Soviets across the border.
I traveled in the area with a local man. The Soviets had to leave soon after we gave the Mujahideen some 140 Stinger missiles.
Soviet pilots refused to fly because they would soon be shot down. The Soviets tried to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century, by their radical plan to educate girls as well as boys.
Our mistake was to help fundamentalists rather than to promote progress.
Before we fight, let us be sure that our cause and the local government is worth our effort.
More U.S. troops cause Afghans to believe we are only another occupying army.
WESLEY WILSON, Lacey