As a registered nurse for more than 40 years, I know just how important health care is, and more importantly, how personal it is for each of us. I was a young nurse when my husband passed away unexpectedly, and I came away from the stress of that loss with a deeper understanding of the pivotal role that health care workers play in caring for people when they need it most.
The Covid crisis has taught us this lesson again and again. Health care workers have been exhausted by the pandemic, working for substandard wages and often without the protective equipment needed to keep them safe. That is one reason I joined Healthcare Rising Arizona, to help amplify the voices of those who directly serve patients. Another reason is that my four decades of nursing inside intensive care units, operating rooms, recovery rooms, nursing homes, and hospice care all taught me an important lesson: A lot of times it is the nurses on the front line who see the problems that need solving.
Medical care can be confusing for any of us, and sometimes the system is not very well thought out. Communication is vital to helping people make the best decision for themselves and their family. But too many times, the business side of the medical industry fails to communicate clearly. The high costs are a tremendous burden for many of us as well.
That’s where Healthcare Rising Arizona comes in. We are working to make a difference in the lives of health care workers and patients. With more than 500 members across our state, we bring together the voices of everyone who is impacted by our health care system and use the power of that collective voice to push for real policy change to make our health care system better.
Right now, we are working together to end the predatory collection practices that trap people in an endless cycle of debt. Families can lose their homes, cars and wages to predatory debt collectors, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. Medical debt can be devastating, and that’s why at Healthcare Rising Arizona, we are working to pass the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act. Once we gather the signatures to put it on the ballot, Arizonans can vote to limit the interest that debt collectors can charge you for medical debt, and protect homes and cars from seizure. No Arizona family should be bankrupted by the cost of care.
I loved working in the recovery room at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa. The challenge of caring for patients to stabilize them after surgery was meaningful to me, every single day. Some people were getting ready to go home; others were headed up to a hospital room to rest. Still others were off to the critical care unit for more treatment. But no matter where a patient was headed next, my job was to deliver compassionate care and pay attention to their needs. That’s exactly why I volunteer as a member Healthcare Rising Arizona today.
Robin Burgeson is a retired registered nurse in Fountain Hills, where she has lived since 1985.