StephensHoliday Cash Crunch
This time of year always gets me inspired. Something about the chilly weather (40° at night counts as cold when you live in Southern California), the hordes of cookies and candies around the office, and the mobs at the malls make me want to bake, decorate my home and office, and buy expensive presents for all my friends and relatives.

Then my thoughts drift to my bank account.

I have yet to secure a spot on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? so the baking, decorating, and buying will have to be done on a budget once again. I’m sure many of you can relate.

With employers considering annual performance bonuses or raises, and paychecks seemingly devoured more quickly than usual, this time of year inevitably brings introspection about job security and contentment. It seems timely, therefore, that our cover story this month is all about your industry’s compensation figures and benefits (see page 16).

As new medical technologies continue to spring up, your work becomes increasingly vital and challenging. Those life-saving but expensive new technologies are the same ones some say are driving up the cost of health care.

Health care providers faced with the burden of those increased costs and fewer Americans covered under health insurance search for ways to squeeze expenses. The question is: Are you feeling the crunch?

Our survey results indicate that despite the tumultuous state of the health care industry in which you serve, more than half of respondents have been in the field for more than 16 years. And most of you seem reasonably satisfied with your compensation and benefits, rating your satisfaction with compensation at 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5). But the one fact that really stands out is your undeniable love for your profession, confirmed by the overwhelming number of optimistic comments you shared.

The comment that summed up the overall sentiment of many of you was by a manager from the West coast with more than 16 years’ experience: “The biomed field is a dynamic profession. Training, ability, and specialized education are essential elements, but passion is what pulls it all together.”

As further changes occur within the health care field and politicians and health care professionals introduce solutions to our nation’s woes, it is certain that better and more complex technologies will continue to be released, and it is essential that the biomedical community’s contribution continue to be properly rewarded.

I look forward to your review and comments.

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kstephens@medpubs.com