It is encouraging to read the Viewpoint (1-24) by the newly selected state senator, Nathan Schlicher. His direct experience in a busy hospital emergency department gives him insight into the health care needs of individuals.
Schlicher not only describes these people in terms of their health care, he puts their needs into the broader context of their lives. His experience puts him in a perfect position “to look at the whole system and understand all of the opportunities for increasing effectiveness, especially at the level of the individual patient and health care provider.”
In the same paper, writer Margaret Carlson mentions that members of Congress “work three days and then fly home to raise funds.” In addition to fund-raising, we would suggest they get to know some of their other constituents. Since they are home on weekends, they should make it a habit of visiting emergency rooms of hospitals in their districts and watching what goes on.
Four hours observing in an ER on a rainy Saturday night would be an eye-opener for most congressional members. For good measure they might sit in their local Social Security office on a Friday afternoon and listen to the conversations going on in the waiting room.
If such visits became routine, members of Congress might gain the insight that Schlicher brings to Olympia.