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Showing posts from February, 2021

Imagining the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Millions of Americans are working remotely during the pandemic.  Many of them would have never believed that they could perform their jobs away from the office.  I’m one of them.  But we all now acknowledge that the basic structure and function of the workplace has been forever altered. This transformation was inevitable, but the pandemic was a potent catalyst to bring it about at, shall I say, ‘warp speed’? Did we really believe that in a world with remote robotic surgery, driverless cars, personalized genetic medicine, exploration of Mars, Alexa and the explosion of artificial intelligence, that we would continue to commute to brick-and-mortar offices each day?   It was only a matter of time before the physical workplace would be recalibrated.   The disruption has been monumental and to a great extent irrevocable.   While I do believe that there will be some backward adjustment after the pandemic has largely resolved, I do not expect a return to the status quo ante.   Do you think

The Importance of the Medical Receptionist

I am writing this now, prior to the pandemic, from my new favorite coffee shop not far from where I live and work. It’s called Couchland and is located in Wickliffe, Ohio.   As the name suggests, every seat is comfortable.   The large space has several couches and plush armchairs that beckon customers to sink in and stay a while.   This is quite different from many of the other coffee shops I patronize, where upon entering, I scan the room like a seasoned detective to see if any of the few comfortable chairs that are present are still available. Otherwise, I must enjoy the discomfort of a hard wooden chair, a larger version of what I sat on in 3 rd grade.  It’s a cat and mouse game as customers compete for premium seating in an adult version of musical chairs.   And, there are rules of etiquette that at times require adjudication.   For example, is it permissible to plop your backpack on a favorable available seat before standing in line to order? When I stroll into Couchlan

Should We Pay People to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19?

I read recently that Kroger, who runs a grocery store chain, has joined with other retailers in paying employees who receive a COVID-19 vaccination.  The $100 payment should serve as an incentive for employees to roll up their sleeves. There is an ongoing debate whether employers can or should mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees.   The state of play now is that employers are encouraging, but not requiring vaccines, as mandating vaccines creates legal exposure for employers.   For example, if you require that an employee is vaccinated against the worker’s wishes, and a complication occurs, is the employer responsible?   Can an employee be disciplined or terminated for failure to vaccinate if there are no vaccines available within a reasonable distance?   And mandating vaccinations may be complicated when workers are unionized. The right to refuse treatment is a bedrock medical ethical principle that I support.   For example, if I advise an individual with acute appendi

Where is Biden's Bipartisanship?

 There are many concepts and activities that we understand, but yet we have difficulty defining.  In 1964, Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart in an attempt to define pornography and obscenity stated that ‘…I know it when I see it.’    Indeed, this phrase has been embedded in pop culture and is used in circumstances far removed from it’s initial prurient reference. How would one define bipartisanship?   If a bill passes with the votes of 100% of one political party and captures only 1 or 2 votes of the opposition, can the outcome fairly be regarded as bipartisan?   How much support from the other side must exist before the ‘B-word’ can be invoked?   While I don’t have a precise threshold in my mind on this issue,   I don’t think that just a couple of votes is sufficient. Joe Biden was elected in part because of his promise to pursue unity and bipartisanship.   How many times have we all heard about his decades of reaching across the aisle?   He pledged to us during his