The article on medical transcription jobs being outsourced at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, which published June 14 in the Gazette Business section, drew several reader comments.
Springs resident Betty Wilson talked about her experience of working for MedQuist, a national transcription service for hospitals and physicians that Penrose and other Centura Health hospitals will outsource its work to. While she was working there, Wilson said, the company started outsourcing half of its work to sites in India, the Philippines and Thailand.
"It's a real sore spot with American transcriptionists, and I was interested to see Penrose is outsourcing to a company that outsources overseas," she said.
Regarding Centura's claim that MedQuist will offer comparable positions to medical transcriptionists losing their jobs at Centura, Heidi, who spent eight years as a hospital transcriptionist, had this to say:
"According to what Centura has stated, MedQuist will be paying those who 'migrate' -- but the base pay will not be comparable. Based on the minimum requirement to stay employed, about 150-160 lines an hours multiplied by eight hours, they'll get about 8-9 cents a line. That will give the average employee only about two-thirds of their previous base pay.
"On top of that, Penrose-St. Francis paid what I believe was the highest bonus (on top of base pay) in the Centura system. I know for a fact that Porter Hospital/Adventist transcriptionists in Denver were only making about 25 percent of the bonus rate when I left there a few years ago, compared with what Penrose/St. Francis had been paying.
"So, this is financially going to severely affect not only those who will no longer receive a bonus for high productivity on top of base pay, it will really hurt those who were pretty much average producers although just as reliable and good employees who were earning just the base wage.
"From many conversations with my peers as well as attending meetings of the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists for the last 15 years, I think we all feel about the same -- that physicians receive quality and timely work turnaround from in-house staff who get to know the dictators, their style, their idiosyncrasies over time and are invested in the organization.
"Another point is that hospital transcriptionists are those who have at least five to 10 years multi-specialty experience in acute-care settings. It is one of those professions where it is difficult to obtain a job at a hospital without hospital experience. We usually intern at a hospital to enter hospital work."