We all went through this covid event together, we saw that healthcare workers were praised for being the front line, the ones that put their lives on the line for covid patients. They worked through the process with no vaccine available for them and some hospitals did not have the right equipment and supplies to protect the worker. These healthcare workers were required to perform under the worse of conditions. And they did it.
Now the hospitals and employers are mandating that if they do not receive the vaccination, they will lose their job. Does this sound ethical in the treatment of healthcare workers? I am throwing this question on there because ethics plays a big part in healthcare.
If you look at the term Healthcare Ethics it describes it as: Our ethical responsibilities in a given situation depend in part on the nature of the decision and in part on the roles we play. For example, a patient and his or her family play different roles and owe different ethical obligations to each other than a patient and his or her physician. In the U.S., four main principles define the ethical duties that health care professionals owe to patients. They are:
- Autonomy: to honor the patients’ rights to make their own decision
- Beneficence: to help the patient advance his/her own good
- Non-maleficence: to do no harm
- Justice: to be fair and treat like cases alike
If we look at the ethics of healthcare and how it is applied to the patient, why isn't the hospital applying the same respect to the healthcare worker? Patients get the right to make their own healthcare decisions. It is in the Patient Bill of Rights for every hospital. If we apply the same argument to healthcare workers, who are required to obtain a vaccination to keep their work, they are not allowed to make their own healthcare decision to keep the job, have we crossed the ethics line?
Ethics in a broad term is "moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity, "medical ethics also enter into the questions". Ethics is about the decision you make to apply moral standards to your decision making. In this case with hospitals, they allow patients to make their own choice on their healthcare but not the employee. If they send the healthcare worker to get a shot that employee becomes a patient and the patient bill of rights kick in, they are protected so that they are able to make their own medical decisions. Not the hospital or employer.
The question remains, is the hospitals decision to fire an employee for making a healthcare decision ethical? Do they have scientific data to prove it will protect the healthcare employee? Has the employer explained the issues with the vaccine? Does the subject of discrimination even apply to these hospitals and letting nurses go? Or, is it all political?
I was talking to a neighbor the other night here in Florida and she didn't even know there was a Patient Bill of Rights. Now in California hospitals I have seen it posted on hospital walls. It is out there big and bold. Everyone should know, even in Florida in their healthcare laws, there is a Patient Bill of Rights that protects patients and allows them to know what they are being given in the form of medication and treatment and allows them to make their own healthcare decisions. I argue that the same rights may apply to healthcare employees.
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A few years back I wrote a book called, "Ethically Thinking, It's Not That Hard." I wrote the book based on how I have been touched in life by unethical events. When you travel abroad on business or trying to run a business in another foreign country, you learn a lot about unethical activities that take place every single day. When I opened a call center and nursing review school in the Philippines, unethical behavior happened every single day. It was a learning experience that helped me form a book on ethics.
We were one of the first companies back in the early part of 2000 that were putting up call centers in the Philippines. After we put up one of the first ones then big companies moved in next door. Converges and People Support were big organization, and they filled their call centers with people. It was like a new industry where manufacturing had moved to China and call centers moved to the Philippines. To open a business in the Philippines you must of course set up a legal entity, which we did by ourselves. We tried to hire attorney's there, but it was really worthless. Let me give you an example. One of the attorneys we were speaking to came into the office for a meeting, at the end of the meeting he said, "listen, if you know anyone in the United States that needs a kidney or heart, I can arrange it here in the Philippines." That was the end of that conversation, it was neither ethical nor appropriate.
The bank that we did business in was on the first floor of the building, I went down one day and found the attorney reading our corporate information with the banker. Same thing happened with the guards in our building, I left a letter down at the front desk for a pickup by a client, I forgot to add something to the letter and went down to retrieve it and the guards had opened my letter and was reading it. They saw me and ran out the back door. So, when you are doing business in a foreign country you have be focused on doing ethical work in an unethical environment. When they see their leaders acting unethical, the people follow.
One of the hard parts of running a business from afar is monitoring what is going on within the offices. I decided to do a surprise visit, I told no one I was flying to the Philippines. My team came in at different shift times. The first shift came in earlier to cover the eastern side of the United States. I loved the project they were working on. We can a contract with a product placement company out of Hollywood California where they use our staff to place products in various movies and television shows. We would get the scripts and go through them and find products that could be placed within the production. It was a great job because we got to see the scripts of these movies and television venues about to come out. However, here is the however part of any story. I flew into the Philippines and landed at night and went straight to the call center. I walked into the office, and I thought it strange that I heard no phone calls going on and the lights were dim. I walked into the sections that were working on product placement and found them all asleep on the floor. They had pillows and blankets, they were all prepared to sleep, not to work. I let them go immediately. Now I did not know that when you let someone go in the Philippines you have to give them thirty days and pay them their thirteenth month pay. Everyone in the Philippines get paid for thirteen months a year, by law. They then took me to the labor commission demanding 500,000 pesos and that drug on for two years until I sat down and made them an offer that was in line with one month pay. Not very ethical to be sleeping on the job when clients are paying us to do a job. Ethics was not at work in that office.
I am writing about the Philippines because that was a big venture to do, and it is still fresh in my mind. Unethical behavior happens all over this globe, it isn't just in one place, it is all over. In America, we see it in our politics. We see it in various investments. The one that comes to mind is bitcoin and crypto. Right now, there are a lot of people who are playing games on line with people and fraud happens. If a currency is so good, then why is there so much fraud in the game? The moral of this is that we have unethical activity all around us, and it is too easy to be swayed because money is too tempting. When we see unethical activity around us, and if we are not strong enough ethically, it is easy to go down the wrong road. I don't know who said this, but it goes like this, "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.". Let us end it there.
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In the past few months, since covid took over, I have noticed that customer service is getting worse with issues that need to be resolved. It feels like no one is taking responsibility for their work, and when you do get a customer service rep on the line they are working from home, and you can't hear them, or the line goes dead. I was trying to work out a tax issue with the provider of my payroll system and twice my line went dead with the customer service rep. When you call back you have to go through the whole process all over again just to press zero to talk to someone. Now you would think that during a pandemic and when people need help that customer service would be there to help. However, people were let go and customer service has suffered greatly. Now that companies have brought people back the customer service part of business is still stuck and not responding.
Good example, USPS. The United States Postal Service is getting worse. I have sent documents to clients, and it never got there, I have sent tax returns to the IRS and State of California, and it never got here. I am waiting on mail to get to my business post office and the lady told me this morning that the main distribution center did send her anything. When mail gets lost the Post Office never does anything to track it. Their response, "It's out of my hands".
Recently I was online with QuickBooks Payroll Online. The issue was that the reports they are mailing to California EDD does not match what is reported in EDD. Even the payments do not match. I asked the customer service agent if there was a direct line into their tax compliance office staff. The response was, no we don't even have a direct contact to them. When I first signed on with QuickBooks payroll, they were supposed to take all of my prior payroll information and upload it into the system. Never happened and screwed up the reporting and created problems for my client. Last week QuickBooks asked me to email them all of the documentation that I had and that I would receive an email from them. Not a single email. I can't even talk to anyone in payroll directly to resolve the issue.
Businesses had gotten bad at resolving issues, and having people working at home without the resources next to them to resolve problems, does not cut it any longer. I am a small business and I rely on products that help me service my clients. When we have companies that provide these products to us online, and we are paying for them, we expect to get service, quality service. Since Covid began, the Customer Service aspect of business has drifted away and those that rely on these Customer Service agents for help are not getting it.
At least, I feel I am not getting the support that I need. Even when you call into Comcast to correct something with the internet you have to go through so many steps, and you never get to talk to someone. They repeat the same message over and over and nothing gets done. It took me 3 months to get them to correct my internet from going up and down. It isn't just one company with a bad customer service problem, it is the majority of the companies out there. Covid came and companies dropped providing good customer service. This working from home is not working anymore when it comes to providing solid customer care. However, I will mention one company that has done an excellent job and that is T-Mobile. You call into them, and you get help. Gold stars for T-Mobile.
Maybe I am the only one concerned with the quality of customer care that we am getting from companies who we am paying for their services. Based on my experience at the moment, and during Covid, customer service stinks. Get it together out there in business land.
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It appears that the Senate and the Congress, no matter what party they are in, seem to think that the American people don't need to see how they are spending the tax dollars of Americans. The other issue I am having a problem with is that they don't feel they need to give us the details of how that $1.2 trillion is going to be spent on. Congress is highly guilty of sticking things in bills that have nothing to do with the bill. Good example is a transportation bill that was up for a vote, however deep inside that bill there was another bill that said if you had $10,000 or more in a foreign bank account at any given part of the year, you were a signer for your parents on a foreign bank account, you had to report it to the Treasury Department and report it on your tax return. If you didn't, you can be prosecuted for a crime. No one knew about this until Congress passed the transportation bill.
The current infrastructure bill has a lot of gadgets in there, also known as "Pork". They sneak their bills into other bills hoping that no one will see in. In the infrastructure bill there are hidden stuff but there is not a publish bill yet for anyone to read, but they want everyone to vote on it. Sorry, a summary of a bill doesn't cut it. Someone explaining the bill doesn't cut it. Senators and members of Congress must read the bill, if they are voting on a bill, they have not read then they are not doing their jobs.
As taxpayers, we need to do a better job of holding these politicians accountable to the American people. If a politician is just following what their party says, and not being proactive for the American people, they should not be there. That goes for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Every time the Government touches the economy, they do damage to it. Inflation goes up, taxes go up, debt goes up, and the American people are seen by Government as their wallet.
Accountability to the American people has got to be demanded. There needs to be changes in holding public office as a Senator or a member of Congress. Term limits have got to be demanded by the American people so we do not have people spending their life in Government and not doing anything except raise money for their next election and focused on their power. We have seen in the past few years that Congress has done a great deal of damage to the nation. Instead of listening to the American people they now only listen to their party leaders. The American voice is no longer heard, instead it is how much power can they get through their party control.
The infrastructure bill is a big bill on spending and the American people need to hold the Senate and the Congress on spending tax dollars only on infrastructure. Hold politicians accountable.
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The other day I was sitting in my office wondering if I was the only one that did not receive any help during this pandemic as a small business. I conducted a poll of businesses and firms on LinkedIn asking the question - During the lockdowns of Covid, how many of you that owned a business or firm did not receive or did receive any government money? 75% did not receive any money or help, and only 25% did.
The reason I asked the question is because I am a small business. I am a one-man operation. When all of the programs came out, I tried to apply for help, I was turned down. For a year I have had to live on my savings to keep my business going in some fashion or another. I remember for two months my phones stopped ringing, no business was coming in. Cash flow stopped and I had to attack my own savings to get through this past year. I tried to ask for PPP, denied. I tried to get the unemployment benefits, denied. I had just moved from Los Angeles to Florida, I was just starting to set up business and at the same time no business was coming in. I took on any client that I could get my hands on. It was hard starting up in Florida as a newbie. I had not developed any networks in Florida, which by the way is very difficult if you are locked down.
One aspect that got me through was my reputation as a mediator and business advisor. I had to leave Florida virtually and take on clients throughout the United States. But I often thought that if I had not saved up money, I would not have made it, but at the same time it took away money I had worked hard for and it was now gone because I was surviving. Anytime a government gets involved in shutting down our businesses, churches and schools, it does great damage to our mental health and financial health.
If you look at my poll, I was not the only individual that did not get any help from the Government, 75% of us got nothing. No help came our way and yet we kept going. That is how capitalist think, they can make it without the government. We can be creative and do other things to bring in cash flow. We have learned that we can't just rely on one profession, we need about three to cover us in the event of a government crisis.
Capitalism does not depend on government; we depend on our own self energy to make it through anything on our own. And we keep moving forward.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.