Lesson: If you don’t regularly maintain the lint trap, it all builds up on the inside, which can ignite a fire. HM groups need to regularly participate in “maintenance” functions, to keep the group humming along without risk of combustion. Such maintenance should include evaluation of roles, responsibilities, and reimbursement structures that result in equity and longevity.
The Smart Squeeze
After a few weeks of peace and harmony in the Scheurer household, without a single school uniform being re-worn with a ketchup stain, again, the unspeakable happened. An entire load of wet laundry sat in the dryer, stuck in park, with a wetter load in the washer. I flipped the switch; nothing happened. This time I even went so far as to “pop the hood,” just to look around (not that I knew what I was looking for). Without an obvious defect glaring at me, I closed the hood and, hesitantly, called Fred.
He promptly returned, on a Saturday morning, to my dwelling, and began the disarticulation process again. But before the third screw was off, he yelled, “Aha!”
Now, I wasn’t sure if the “aha” was going to translate into a “once again, you have proven yourself incapable of maintaining a simple appliance” when he disclosed, “the belt’s broke.”
What a relief; the belt broke. Surely I had no culpability for a broken belt. Alas, the broken belt had little to do with the uncooperative dryer; the belt broke because I had overloaded the old, pitiful thing. In an attempt at efficiency, I threw in a big, sopping load of towels, at least half a dozen too many, topped off with a bath mat.
Lesson: There is only so much efficiency you can squeeze out of a hospitalist group. If you load it up too heavy, it will break.
Take Stock of Your ‘Appliance’
So you see, hospitalist groups really are a lot like dryers: hundreds of brands and model types, differing slightly in maintenance requirements and load-bearing abilities, but all sharing some common denominators: a need to be understood, a need to be maintained, and a need to not be overloaded.
So ask yourself the following questions about your group:
- Do we know what brands we have?
- Are we cleaning out our lint?
- Are we breaking some belts?
If you don’t know the answers, you should probably find out…or else call Fred.
Dr. Scheurer is physician editor of The Hospitalist. Email her at [email protected].