H. Small Business Saturday

I became aware on TV and the internet that in addition to “Black Friday”, there is now a Small Business Saturday (the first Saturday after Thanksgiving).  I didn’t make this up, here are a couple of comments I copied from the Internet:

From Facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday:  First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday. Now, there’s the 2nd annual Small Business Saturday, the day people support small businesses. Pledge to Shop SmallSM on Nov. 26th. If millions of Americans shop small, it will be huge.

From SmallBusinessSaturday.com (sponsored by American Express):  The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. On November 26, we’re asking millions of people to Shop Smallsm at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge.

I do love the idea of Small Business Saturday.  I have a small medical transcription business; for details see: zentranscription.com.  I have been contacting ___________ Hospital (local hospital in Texas Panhandle–name deleted to protect the guilty) as well as Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo (who are big enough they won’t take it personally that I name them)  since the latter part of 2008, offering to save them money by doing their medical transcription 10 to 20% less than their present vendor AS WELL AS help the hospital implement their own efficient system, so they can do it cheaper themselves and contribute to the local economy.

Currently the Texas Panhandle hospital has their medical transcription done by America’s largest medical transcription service, located in New Jersey, who sends the jobs to India and the Philippines.  I do not know how the big regional hospital’s outsourced medical transcription is done (but I was told it was sent to a conglomerate which owned a number of hospitals) but I imagine it is done by computer, which is more expensive than having it done by humans.

My initial contacts with both the Medical Transcription Supervisors and the CEOs were met with “We’ll think about it” but when I followed up I was told “Thanks but no thanks”.  Maybe they thought it was too much hassle and preferred to pay for the convenience of outsourcing?  The local Economic Development Council told me that I was “majoring in the minors”.  A clerk at the big hospital said that “Well, we have a 5 year exclusive contract with our service, so we can’t use individual transcriptionists.”

I have discussed this on the phone with the editor of the local newspaper and sent him a followup e-mail with details (including a copy of my latest letter to the hospital), but the editor has not responded, even though he has been running front-page “shop local on the 20th” articles repeatedly for many months.  for the past several months.  I suspect he is afraid to publish anything less than positive about the local hospital.

I struggled with this, as I have said for years, trying to deal with how expensive medical care is, how few people have insurance and how hospitals given the chance to reduce an aspect of their overhead would ignore the opportunity.

When I heard about Small Business Saturday, I felt that local citizens probably do not know how the hospital (which is subsidized by the local taxpayers) does not return the favor and support the local community by keeping their medical transcription jobs here in the Texas Panhandle. I decided to picket the hospital on Small Business Saturday, in hopes some passersby ask me about my sign and become aware of what the hospital is doing with potential local jobs.

I hope I can reach the hospital’s CEO (as well as the CEO/CFO of Northwest Texas Hospital, who also sends out ALL of their medical transcription) as well as both hospital’s board members and generate interest in keeping these jobs local and benefitting the local economies.

Ron Winegardner
P.O. Box 922
Sunray, TX 79086


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