Who is behind the USMLSU Initiative?

Someone sent me a link to the United States Medical Language Specialists Union Initiative. You can go to the site to see it, but their mission statement is as follows:

Organized to emphasize the necessary return of United States citizens’ patient information to United States-based Medical Information Specialists, Medical Transcriptionists and Medical Language Specialists, furthering the continuation of these health care careers, furthering education, and providing appropriate compensation and job benefits for Medical Information Specialists, Medical Transcriptionists, and Medical Language Speciaists, thereby fostering our status as vital links in the chain of quality health care delivery and the protection of patient privacy.

Don’t go searching the WHOIS registry to find out who is behind this – it’s got a privacy shield on it. And the domain name is freshly registered this month (January 9th).

The medical transcriptionist in me is finding all the grammatical and typographical errors in this site and I’m trying really hard to concentrate on the stated purpose of the site – but c’mon people. Basically what this site is showing people is that they were right to go overseas for cheap crap (see my Quotes section) if this is the best USMTs can do!

The United States Medical Language Speciaists Union Initiative was conceived by a group of independent Medical Language Specialists, Medical Transcriptionists, and Certified Medical Transcriptionists, who cannot sit idly by as sensitive United States’ citizens’  patient  information, and U.S. jobs, disappear beyond U.S. borders, beyond U.S. legal and HIPAA enforcement jurisdiction, beyond our control.

(Pssst! If you’re looking for someone who will find and fix all the errors in your site, I can refer you to a very excellent web site editor!)

Moving on to the issues – this is one of my favorite parts:

As patient privacy has been disregarded, so have Medical Language Specialists.  We have been manipulated by fear tactics, threatened that our work will be sent overseas if we do not accept drastic pay and benefit cuts.  We have been forced to work as independent contractors, when we are actually employees, to save service owners the cost of Social Security contributions, and we are one of very few technically skilled trade groups who earn only half of what we earned 15 – 20 years ago while the cost of living has continued to rise.

Folks, nobody has forced you to do anything. You chose to accept the conditions. Do we need to send everyone to Al-Anon?

The cascade of circumstances that have led us to the current condition in medical transcription would take a series of blog posts, but let me point to a major contributing factor: nobody can take advantage of you unless you give them permission.

This seems to be an organized group of determined people so I’m really disappointed to see this kind of codependent – and yes, juvenile – whining.

I have to say that while usually you can’t get 10 MTs to agree to leave a burning building, these people are to be applauded for getting together 50 MTs to promote their agenda in front of decision makers in Washington, DC.

Fifty independent American MTs are traveling to Washington during the last week of January.  We have been invited to present proof, to health care administrators, clinicians, patient omsbudsmen and members of Congress (who are patients themselves) of the horrific “quality” of overseas medical record transcription, revealing the “before U.S. MT QA” product which MTs edit for pennies from offshore companies every day.

My primary concern here is – where are they obtaining these records and do they have permission to use them in this case?

My secondary interest is whether or not they will also present evidence of the kind of work done here in the U.S. Maybe they aren’t aware that there are plenty of MTs here in the U.S. doing crappy work that has to be cleaned up by extensive editing. Or maybe they are – it’s certainly in their best interest to present a one-sided story, isn’t it?

Another concern I have is why this group has chosen to remain completely anonymous. The domain name registration has a privacy shield and there is absolutely no information at the web site about the principles in this organization or whether it’s an organization with a legally recognized structure. Hopefully, someone involved will come forward with some information.

I’d like to wish them the best and encourage everyone to join the cause but I’m afraid it’s a lost cause without a lot of merit. Oh, and then there’s the codependent whining factor that makes us all look bad.

Folks, overseas transcription is here to stay. It isn’t going to go away. I’ll make every effort to blog my thoughts on why transcription pay (and rates) have gone down but it doesn’t have as much to do with overseas transcription as US MTs would like to think. And I’ve always said everything you can say about overseas transcription can be said about US transcription, so there isn’t a moral high ground here. Proponents of US-only transcription need to stick with one issue and ignore all the other shiny objects. If the issue is privacy, then make that the issue and don’t bring in pay rates and quality.

I am not a guru

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