A community of 30,000 US Transcriptionist serving Medical Transcription Industry


Bringing this to the top. This is the letter I have - sm


Posted: Apr 14, 2012

so far.  It is a long one so please bear with me

US DEPT OF LABOR RE MT

To Whom It May Concern;

I have been a medical transcriptionist for 16 years.  I have been working at home 14 of those 16 years.  When I started out working at home, I was offered 7-1/2 cpl.  I am now consistently offered 6-7 cpl for straight transcription and 3-4 cpl for editing.  I am lucky to make $20 a day.  That includes running out of work, the ridiculously low pay and the tons of account specifics we have to abide by.  I have yet to find a company that pays a decent wage that has enough work to go around.  Why are these companies (also called MTSOs...Medical Transcription Service Owners) allowed to get away with paying third-world country rates??  I would like to know.  I have been close to homeless so many times and the stress is unbelievable.  I am on every sort of public assistance I can get, including food stamps and I qualify for everything.  Why in the world has our pay rate gone down consistently?  We are told by MTSOs it is because we do not have to worry about gas money, money for a sitter, lunches eaten out, etc.  This is NOT made up for with the low rates.  There needs to be a law in place that states if the MTSO overhires or the account(s) run out of work causing extremely low pay, we will STILL be paid at least minimum wage for our state.  It is unheard of for any other industry to pay such low rates.  We MTs have taken it for too long and I know I am not going to take anymore.  However, I am between a rock and a hard place.  I just got a job after being on unemployment for 4 months.  I earned more on UI than when I work.  The job I have now is IC (independent contractor) so if I lose my job, no UI for me.  An IC is supposed to work when he/she can, however every company I apply to also wants a set schedule from me.  Is this not a form of tax evasion?  Making us work a specific schedule while still calling us ICs?  I get child support, but it is not enough to live on unless I get a job that pays a decent rate.  I have enough experience that I should be getting offers of 10-12 cents per gross line and not 65-character line or per VBC (visible black character, which some companies state is industry standard and it is not).  The difference between gross line and 65-character line is that a gross line is everything on a line even if it is just one word.  The 65-character line is paying that much for every 65 characters typed, but, believe it or not, some companies do not even pay for spaces!!  This is absurd.  I really need to know that someone out there will do something and I am trying my very best to see that the slave wages are banned!!  I would really like the MTSOs that offer these low wages, VBC wages, no spaces wages are fined AND made to pay their MTs what they are worth...which is a whole lot more than MOST are getting!!  I know I am a great MT.  I get consistent QA (quality assurance) scores of 98% and higher.  Please help me.  We have nowhere else to turn!!!

Also, editing rates should be the same as straight transcription.  We are told we should be able to do double the rate (average is 200 lph and with editing 400 lines per hour), but that is not the case.  These MTSOs are thieves in my opinion as they continually offer these very low rates.  Also, I would like to know why some American MTSOs are sending work overseas!  We need to keep our records in the states.  We American MTs are losing our jobs to offshoring.  Please do not confuse the term offshore with outsource.  Outsource simply means sending the work to home MTs.

 

I would appreciate your help in any way.

 

Sincerely

 

I Would Spell Out Medical Transcription - and...

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cents per line the first time it's mentioned.

I used to work in a government job and honestly, - anonymous

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they will not read this letter unless you change the way it is written. The best way to get their attention is to follow these suggestions:

1. Keep it concise. If they want to do something about it after reading your first letter, they will contact you for more details. Keep it to 1 page. If you have too much to fit on 1 page, then you've said too much (also see #6 below for spacing and font size).

2. Spell out the unfamiliar terms. Remember these are not MTs and will not know what cpl means or MT, and they will not want to go back up to the top of a very lengthy letter to find the parenthetical statement to remind themselves of what the abbreviation means.

3. Talk about the plight of all MTs, not just yourself. I know this hits close to home for you and you have a very sad story, but they are not going to be interested in all the details of your personal life. If you fill it with too much personal information, they won't do anything. Remember, they are going to have to go through a bunch of government red tape to do anything to help us, so if they do not see a benefit for a large group of people being the outcome of that process, they will not touch it. A better way to go about it would be to do some homework and find out roughly how many MTs are working in the United States and be a spokesperson for MTs as a whole. If this situation is affecting the income and working conditions, which it is, then they will be more likely to look into it.

4. Make your first sentence a real attention-grabber. Most of the time, they do not read past the first sentence or two, so you must have a really dynamic opening statement. Think in terms of a lawyer giving opening arguments in court.

5. Put yourself in their shoes. Do some research on the Dept. of Labor and find out some facts about when and why that department was put in place. Then appeal to their sense of justice and fairness on behalf of the American MTs. It will help them remember why they decided to take that job in the first place. Stroke their ego a little bit by stating something about a prior case that they were able to successfully resolve.

6. Break the thoughts up into small paragraphs, use a regular font (such as Times New Roman or Arial) at no less than 12-pt. font size and double space your lines (or at least 1-1/2 spaces between lines). This will make it look easy to read and will keep the letter short and to the point. They are more likely to completely read a short, aesthetically pleasing letter. If they see one or two very long, single-spaced paragraphs staring back at them, it will be put in the trash or you will be sent a very placating "we'll look into it" form letter and then it will be filed away for good.

I hope these suggestions will help you. I'm not trying to be negative, but you really have to think like one of them if you want to get them to do something about the unfairness we experience every day. Good luck! :)

Sorry, my above post should be under the original poster.-nm - anonymous

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nm

Letter - Anonymous

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Spell out the abbreviations such as CPL and IC. Some of the statements are too subjective (how do you know you are being paid third world country rates?), re-work the sentences beginning with I/We or delete them altogether. "I know I am a great MT" has nothing to do with the real issues and is too subjective. The sentence "I would like to know" sounds threatening. Show some documentation if you can such as pay stubs or W2s to prove your point. How is wanting you to work a schedule tax evasion?

I hate to tell you this but actually paying for VBC is industry standard. The one issue that the DOL might be able to help you with is the minimum wage issue. A lot of other industries have seen their wages drop so I don't know what they can do about that. If/when you send your letter, make sure you address it to an individual and have the right address so that it doesn't end up in the wastebasket. Send it certified mail so that you are sure they received it. Also send a copy to your state's Department of Labor.

An MT asking other MTs to edit something they have written? There's something wrong with that picture, IMO.

I was not asking other MTs to edit!! And FYI - sm

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I DID spell things out!!!

And now we are fighting amongst ourselves over - suggestions on a letter

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She was only trying to help based on her experience..I have to agree we are talking a gvt agency, the less they have to look up the better..otherwise the letter is great...but we all need to send them..Not sure just to the labor board though maybe our congressmen and senators?? And hey fire one off to the Pres while your at it..hes scrambling for any votes he can get right now to try and get reelected..And if he does well then you can kiss this job good bye anyway...

you crack me up - me

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You want the government to help bail you out but then you bash the government. What a joke. Seriously, many of you women do not have a CLUE and I find it shocking.
Are you assuming we are all women????? - sm
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Wait I am a cross-dresser I could be both.
i don't make assumptions - me
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But I'd be willing to venture a lot of the men don't put up with the same crap women do. :)

Regardless of spelling, content or anything else, - I APPLAUD HER FOR SENDING THE LETTER! (sm)

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For most of us, all we ever do is talk about the problems with the MT field. At least the author of that letter is trying to do something about it.

Again, I applaud you for sending the letter, OP! Anyone who criticizes your letter should just write their own letter, then.

=^..^=
Thank you!! I was so scared to come back and - sm
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read the replies because I saw some very rude responses, but I thank you very much!!
I think we all applaud the sending, just had suggestions about - wording which was taken poorly.
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truly - wanted you to sound profsssional not whiny.

No one EVER said it was a bad idea.

who said anything about spelling? - ??????
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.

Why Are You All So Rude Sounding?? - her reason for this letter is

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To speak up for EVERYONE working as an MT for these companies paying low wages. The whole idea/concept is to bring attention to the 3 and 4 cent per line wages.

She posted this letter for feedback/constructive criticism in hopes of getting replies to help her better edit the letter or speak out most appropriately for ALL UNDER-PAID MTs.

You all get on this board and complain, but when someone tries to come up with an idea, you beat them down. This letter stemmed from a thread below and because the thread had gotten so lengthy it looks like she decided to create a new post with what she came up with so that it wouldn't be overlooked.

Asking another MT for their feedback is not a crime. Someone posted "An MT asking other MTs to edit something they have written? There is something wrong with that picture, IMO."

No whats wrong with this picture is that she is trying to be proactive and you guys posting your snarky comments, but yet complaining about how the industry treats you and not having any respect for someone who is trying to do something about it. Thats whats wrong with this picture.

Get off her back!!!! If you cant bring constructive criticism that will help the MTs in this industry and support her letter, then bypass the thread.

Dont make her feel bad.

Editing - Anonymous

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I was trying to give feedback and pointed out some things that I thought needed to be changed. She came back and said she was not asking for editing help. Posting letters here does not do anyone any good, we already know there's a problem. Send the letter to someone who might be able to help, already, and let go of this stupid discussion.
perhaps if you quit posting, the discussion would - die down. Quit reviving it.
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nm

you must have missed the author's post above stating - herself she did not ask for MTs edits.

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There was some very helpful INSIDE INFORMATION offered and rude came when original poster basically said MYOB. Well! OK then, perhaps she wanted applause?

Personally, would not want that letter representing me.
"that thing"? - Wow!! and not in a good way either.
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And I agree, but---paragraphs, please! No one will read - text that threatens to drown comprehension. NM
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x

TO Anonymous - sm

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you said:
"An MT asking other MTs to edit something they have written? There's something wrong with that picture, IMO."

Now thats funny considering we have "editors and QA" in the MT industry. If an MT never needed feedback, there would be no need for QA.

I take it you are perfect and have never had to ask anyone's opinion?

That remark was extremely condescending. Some of the attitudes on this board are unbelievable.





seriously?? I think some on here really do have - sm

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reading comprehension problems. NO WHERE did I ask anyone to edit this. It looks fine and I really do not care if you all think it does or not!!!!

Seriously - Anonymous

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Why do you feel the need to post your letter on this board in the first place? If you want to send a letter to the DOL, just send it. The same goes for contacting a labor union, just do it.

Anonymous - You TOTALLY missed the boat - either that or you are on

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a vacation with no luggage. This letter was in regards to a previous thread below and without reading that thread, which you obviously have not, then you would have no clue what the purpose of this letter is for.

So let me enlighten you - The letter was intended to bring attention to the low wages in the MT field. It was posted so that she could get feedback from other MTs as far as what should be included in he letter, in an effort that the underpaid MTs voice be heard.

That is why she posted the letter. NOT for you guys to edit it, but to give her ideas on how it could be better written to help ALL OF US.
They were giving her constructive criticism, - not tearing her apart.
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You said "That is why she posted the letter. NOT for you guys to edit it, but to give her ideas on how it could be better written to help ALL OF US."

Ummmm, isn't that what editing is??? They were all giving her suggestions on how it could have been better written. How it could be more concise, to the point. I don't see why you are all getting so riled up. They were trying to HELP her. Geesh.

That IS editing - just for future information
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"NOT for you guys to edit it, but to give her ideas on how it could be better written to help ALL OF US. "

That is what editing is.

As to the actual letter, someone said OP wrote the letter to represent all of us low paid MTs.

Sorry. I don't need to be represented. I'm not terribly low paid at the moment.

OP, I don't mean to be harsh, but your letter just comes off as self indulgent and whiny. This field is changing. There is no putting that train back in the station. No matter how many letters get written, MTSOs are not going to go back to 13 cpl on a regular basis and VR is here to stay, low rates and all. If the available work force of MTs suddenly dries up in the US and India, only then might wages increase, but I don't see that happening any time soon. If you're not making it as an MT, get out and find something else. Don't just whine about how the big bad MTSOs are screwing the poor lowly MT.

your attitude - me

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says volumes.

If you didn't want feedback, don't put it out here. If you put it out here, you get feedback. If you don't like the feedback, maybe you need to take a step back and ask yourself why.

As I already said, the letter is incredibly lacking and most people won't read it past the first couple of lines, least of all a busy government agency. They won't go "look up" stuff and they really don't care about your personal issues. IMO, you wasted your time in writing it, our time in reading it. my 2c. (that's cents)

Amen sistah! - nm

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.

Letter - Jake

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VERY well said! My thoughts and sentiments exactly...only more! I have been in this business 35+ years (strictly Radiology MT/Editing) and our industry is going to H___ in a handbasket. All these years of teaching ourselves, learning, teaching others and experience means nothing to transcription companies now.

It makes me extremely sad. I once loved my field.

Jake

How bout this..tried severa yrs ago to rally - maybe we can get some help

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Got very little response years ago..It would take quite a few of us in every state to help..We need a firm committment from people to help THEMSELVES for a change..In the 3 years since I tried this it has gotten consistently worse, is anyone NOW WILLING TO FORCE A CHANGE..we need to brainstorm,,,We need to start maybe a letter writing campaign or something to our representatives...I even had contact with the owner of a transcription company that refuses to outsource willing to help...There are ways, I am not up on all of them but dang if I had a committment from people willing to help more then just a bit I think we could do it...Unionize if we have to...something,,,too many of us are living in poverty..this used to be a profession, now brought down to a job. Peoples lives depend on what we transcribe it is not a stupid do nothing job, I take great pride in what I do and I think a living wage is not too much to ask for..

letter - me

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A. Stick to facts that are relevant, not emotional. The DOL could not care less if you get child support, work a schedule or many other points you've included.

B. You've used all sorts of terminology/vernacular familiar to US but not at all to the DOL. cpl, straight type, edit, etc are OUR concepts.

C. DOL is not your therapist. If you want to report company A for doing B, do it. Specifics. Keep your woes to yourself. They don't care what you THINK you are worth, or likely to even be educated in what makes a VBC, etc.

BTW- it's NOT tax evasion to request an IC work a schedule.

What is it you REALLY hope to gain from sending this?

I agree with your suggestions 100%. I think de-personalizing it will go a long way. - ndmt68

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This letter evokes a very emotional response. Remember, it's going to be read by a government employee who may hate their job, be getting a divorce, or plain old having a bad day. They may look at and think "I've got it worse than you..."

Bringing this to the top. This is the letter I have - sm - whistlingdixie

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I wish you luck. I too have sent letters and complaints to DOL to no avail. Unless you make below minimum nothing else matters. But I wrote a note to CNBC re their 5 worst jobs for 2012 and admonished them for not putting in medical transcription and pleaded that they look into this female profession. We absolutely need help.

Agan with the female thing, are all nurses females too??? - nm

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nm

you've heard of male dominated? - wheres_my_job

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It just means a preponderance of one gender or the other, that's all. It's not EVERYONE LAST PERSON IN THAT JOB CATEGORY - just the majority, or even THE VAST MAJORITY.

here is a copy of a "rant" I put on here - oldandtiredMT

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about a month or more ago. maybe this will be helpful to you. I don't believe the department of labor really cares if our pay has been cut or not. We have to get this information into the hands of someone who will help us get medical records back into the hands of US transcriptionists. anyway, I'm pasting the article in, and hopefully this will help you. I haven't sent it to anyone yet because I actually have more to write! It's not finished because there are several things I didn't address in here because I was tired and had to get to bed so I could get up for my "JOB" the next day. and for the record, I got lots and lots of positive feedback, so here goes. plus in reading it back, I found some mistakes I need to correct before I send it out to anyone important lol. It is a labor of love for me though, and I hope you get something out of it. I am just like you, have a little longer in the business, but really, this has been my life's work and I'm sure yours, and only together can we get our work and our money back.

THE DEMISE OF THE MEDICAL TRANSCRIPTIONIST
I started to call this "The Demise of the Medical Transcription Industry," but that would have been inaccurate. The industry itself is thriving. Actually, transcription companies in all probability show the highest profit margin of any healthcare-related industry in the United States. In fact, I would swear to it.
I have done some research and I came across several interesting articles. This paragraph is an excerpt from an article about HCA Holdings. Their profit margin for the last quarter of 2011 was $1.9 billion. It is a staggering amount, but not really so much when you break it down.

"HCA Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides health care services in the United States. The company owns, manages, or operates hospitals, freestanding surgery centers, diagnostic and imaging centers, radiation and oncology therapy centers, rehabilitation and physical therapy centers, and various other facilities. Its general acute care hospitals provide medical and surgical services, including inpatient care, intensive care, cardiac care, diagnostic services, and emergency services, as well as outpatient services comprising outpatient surgery, laboratory, radiology, respiratory therapy, cardiology, and physical therapy; and psychiatric hospitals offer therapeutic programs, such as child, adolescent, and adult psychiatric care, as well as adult and adolescent alcohol and drug abuse treatment and counseling. As of December 31, 2011, it operated 163 hospitals, including 157 general acute care hospitals with 40,988 licensed beds, 5 psychiatric hospitals with 506 licensed beds, and 1 rehabilitation hospital, as well as 108 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and England. HCA Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee."

So the generation of $1.9 billion in profit is split between 227 different facilities. Obviously, the large hospitals would be taking in a lot more than the small outpatient surgery centers, but still, for the sake of the numbers, it is split 227 ways. That calculates to $8.37 million per facility. Quite a paltry amount once you read the next excerpt. Transcend Services is a transcription company, although this information was in an article about their 2009 profits, and it is a bit of a moot point now because they have recently sold out to Nuance. I will get to Nuance later, but for now, let's just look at this one single transcription company's profits.
"Transcend Services Inc.âs net income was up 3 percent in the first quarter, following charges related to a bid to acquire a competitor.
The Atlanta-based provider of medical transcription services (NASDAQ: TRCR) had net income of $1.63 million and earnings of 15 a share, compared with net income of $1.58 million and earnings of 18 cents a share in the first quarter of 2009.
Revenue for the first quarter of 2010 increased 49 percent to $22.2 million."
Now you could argue with me on this one, because $8.37 million is quite a bit more than $1.58 million. However, you must take several things into account before I will call it a good argument. Let's just say the $8.37 million is for an average-sized, 300-bed hospital. Obviously, a 650-bed hospital would make more, while a small outpatient surgery center would make much less, so I just picked a number in the middle. At one time, I worked for a 650-bed hospital. It was an 8-story building with a separate (attached by a crosswalk) emergency room. There had to be a minimum of 5000 employees when you consider everyone from ancillary services including lab work, x-ray technicians, and all the way down to maintenance, housekeeping, cafeteria, and so on and so on. It is a 7-day, 24-hour operation, and except for things like surgery, unless emergency surgery, most hospitals do not run on an 8-hour day. Considering the cost of paying employees 24 hours a day plus the cost of electricity, etc., it is a very high number, so to make $8 million, probably at least four times that amount must be taken in. This is a guess for me because I am not a math person, but let's just put that in as an estimate.
So let's go back to the amount that Transcend Services brought in in one quarter. That is the $1.63 million in the first quarter of 2010. If the average hospital needed to make $8 million in one quarter to make a profit and pay all of its employees' salaries, benefits, and overhead for the hospital, there is no way their profit margin could have been equal to Transcend's $1.63 million profit. So where did all of this money go? Let's just say it was NOT put into Transcend's employees' salaries, benefits, or overhead. It went into the hands of the company owners while they were continuing to hire more transcriptionists for less money than an average transcriptionist was paid over 10 years ago. I have not personally worked for this company, but since they are all the same, I know where the money did not go.
I think this advertisement will illustrate it much more clearly than anything I could say. I just Googled "medical transcription companies for sale in Tennessee," and this is what came up.
Medical Transcription Company - $300,000 Profit
Location: United States -> Tennessee
Industry: Health and Medical > Other Health and Medical

Business Summary
Well established medical transcription company with long-term established client base. State-of-the-art software technology. Owners to stay involved in a commission-based sales capacity after the sale.
Financials

Asking Price Range: $500K - $1.0M
Gross Revenues: $1,200,000
Cash Flow: $300,000
Cash Flow Type: EBITDA
Seller Financing: Yes

About The Business

Year Established: 1999
Number of Employees: 10 - 19
Relocatable: Not Disclosed
Franchise: Not Disclosed
Current Real Estate: Leased
Here are the key points. I do not really have to mention the asking price or gross revenues or cash flow, do I? The point I want you to concentrate on is the "number of employees." It says 10-19. WHAT? Very funny. That is NOT the number of transcriptionists they have working for them. That is the number of employees they have working in their ACTUAL OFFICE. These include the CEO, CFO, COO, HR Coordinator, Payroll Director, computer techs, and the staff who answer the phones to help a client in need. That is how much overhead they have to pay which is just enough to cover the skeleton staff they have in their actual office. The transcriptionists pay for their own computers, internet service, library of reference books (I prefer Stedman's), desks, printers, and literally anything else necessary to have a "home office." They are not free.
Now I can get to the point of all of this. I have a link to an article that I got this information from. I did not send the link because most people will not open a link from a blind e-mail, but would be happy to provide it to you. While all of the transcription company owners are making a fortune, this is what has happened to the transcriptionists' salaries. These were the only 4 jobs in the comparison.
Position 1998 2009 % Change
HIM Director 39394 67500 71.35%
Coder 27609 42500 53.94%
Cancer Registrar 29357 42500 44.77%
MT 26556 27500 3.55%
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
The transcriptionist became devalued as a result of many things, one in particular being those stupid study-at-home courses to "become a medical transcriptionist, work at home, make $40,000 a year." I do not see a $40,000 salary listed above, but I can tell you there was a time that I made that and much more. It was in between the 1998 and 2009 listed above. We do a hard job. We have to know all of the medical terminology for every specialty. We have to listen to dictators who do not speak English and try to figure what medical English word could the dictator possibly be trying to say. We do not get an hourly pay. We work by how much we produce, and we must maintain a 98% quality score on any random audit done on our work at all times OR THEY WILL CUT OUR PAY. Sometimes there is no work during our shift, through no fault of our own, and we have to make up the hours during our off time. If we fall short, THEY WILL TAKE AWAY OUR INSURANCE. I am required to punch into a time clock and then sign onto our transcription software. The software is now so sophisticated that IT KNOWS if I am typing! I must be typing at all times that I am punched in with a 10% allowable variance. This means that in an 8 hour day, there are 480 minutes, and I am allowed to be not typing for 48 minutes of the 480 minutes. This means I must type 54 minutes of every hour. I am no longer a transcriptionist. I am Chinese Slave Labor.
So once again, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
WELCOME TO INDIA!
One day, someone came up with the bright idea that we should send OUR medical records to be transcribed by people in another country, such as India! Then, as if the owners were not rich enough, they could pay EVEN LESS money out! Oh what a happy day this must have been! Maybe I can move to India and get my job back!
When this began, they began to cut our pay. The transcription companies all looked at what each other was paying, and suddenly this became the "standard rate." There was no increase for experience. Everyone is paid the same, and if you do not think that is fair, they will give you some trite statement like "you should make more than someone with less experience because you should be faster." I have been doing this for over 20 years and I only have one speed, and it is fast, but I still only have the one set of hands and one keyboard. Make me an octopus and I will give you more work.
Over the last 5 years, I lost my house to foreclosure, filed bankruptcy, moved to a 2-bedroom apartment (so I could have an office), moved to a cheaper 2-bedroom apartment, and now live in a 1-bedroom apartment. Why do I still do this job? Because I am almost 50 years old and have applied for every medical job ON EARTH, but apparently no one is in need of a washed-up transcriptionist. In addition, I watch a website called MTstars. On this website, you will find people complaining they cannot even make minimum wage. The companies they work for have to pay them the difference between what they made and minimum wage, then they fire them because they could not make minimum wage, when 9 times out of 10, it is the company's fault for overhiring. I have two problems with this. One is that there is NO ONE who is transcribing medical records should be only making money for the owners of the company. The second is that I DID NOT GET INTO THIS CAREER TO MAKE MINIMUM WAGE. I did not give 20+ years of my life learning everything medically that I could so that I could make MINIMUM WAGE. I can get a job in housekeeping at a hospital downtown and make more than that. It is completely ridiculous.
Now here is my real problem. I realize this is in part a result of NAFTA. I know that everything I pick up in the store says Made In China. I also know that if I call a credit card company, etc., chances are my call will not be answered in America.
I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH MY PERSONAL INFORMATION, INCLUDING MY FULL NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, ADDRESS, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AND ALL OF MY MEDICAL HISTORY BEING IN THE HANDS OF SOMEONE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY.
In the United States, to be employed in any job associated with healthcare, we must all abide by the laws of HIPAA. Citizens of other countries are not bound by American laws. We made the laws for our PROTECTION, and if my personal information including all of the above is being sent to another country, I am not protected.
I consider this to be a gross breach of Homeland Security. I will give you a scenario. Imagine there is a person transcribing medical records in India. Imagine it is a Discharge Summary and the patient happened to have died. Imagine the person transcribing this report has contacts with terrorists. Imagine he makes a phone call and gives a terrorist organization the deceased person's name, address, date of birth, and social security number. Imagine they have a fake passport with all of the deceased person's information on it and they are on a plane to America before the deceased person's obituary is printed.
Like I said, this is not about products being made in other countries. I cannot stop that. What I would like to do is get our medical information back in this country where it can be secure or at least there are laws to protect it.

Oh yeah, and then maybe I could trade in my 14-year-old car for something like maybe 10 years old???


Now Im old and tired after reading that mess... - ever hear of a paragraph?

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Apparently you have no regard for the reader... Do you leave your reports like that?

Maybe I am asking too much of your "Old and Tired" pinky finger to hit that ENTER KEY once in awhile!

seriously? You expect that to be read? - my rant

[ In Reply To ..]
First off, you guys are seriously peeing up the proverbial rope. Industries change, some die, some reform, some get better. OUR industry is in the reformation stage. You will not all be able to stay in this field because the field won't need you. There will be many transcriptionists who are able to stay employed and make a lucrative living at it.

The rest of you, and we have no way of knowing where anyone falls, will have to find something else to do. Government agencies are not going to help you. Taking a day off work in protest is not going to help you. You are kicking and screaming and frankly, no one really cares except YOU.

Medical transcription will become a thing of the past and finish morphing into Health Information. All the letters and rants in the world are not going to change this. The President is not going to change this. The next President is not going to change this.

Get over yourselves and realize that your energy is actually better spent finding something you can make a viable living doing rather than ranting and raving like lunatics about things changing.

Oh and to OldandTired - couldn't get past the first few lines. As was said, you need to consider your audience.

I heart this response - Seriously. Well said.

[ In Reply To ..]
I could not agree more.

With all due respect, trying to wade thru that document - Would make my eyes bleed

[ In Reply To ..]
Paragraphs are your friend when you want something to be read and comprehended.

Not to burst your bubble but... - SP

[ In Reply To ..]
I filed a complaint with the DOL in Florida, where my former MTSO was based out of, and I had no case. Never got a dime. The DOL said that I could not "prove" that I was working 40 hours per week, in front of my PC, waiting for work, and yet only getting so many lines and getting paid so little. I was averaging $3/hr at that time with my 1st MTSO. I don't wanna be a downer, but don't even bother with the DOL, seriously, cut your losses, move onto another job as soon as you can, and get away from that MT job. They are not all like that, but I understand your feelings about it, I felt the same way and did the same thing and got nowhere. It sucks, I know, but honestly the DOL is not going to help! I've been waiting 2+ years for back wages owed me, and I'm not holding my breath about it. Sorry about what you're going through. :-(

yes you need to - edit it heavily

[ In Reply To ..]
I would speak to the situation of ALL MT's not just your own. Make one paragraph outlining your personal problems as being typical. You will have say "transcription and editing (proofreading drafts created by a speech recognition program)"... that kind of thing. I would also include the point that NO doctor, hospital or clinic that accepts government payment for services should be permitted to send work outside the USA, especially in today's economy. Keep it short, keep it simple. They will probably throw it straight in the trash if at first glance it is more than a page, maybe a page and a half. no more than that. Use your editing skills, be dramatic and concise!! You have a great story to tell, now tell it, sistah!!

depersonalize, then bullet your points - for ease in reading (NM)

[ In Reply To ..]
.

Here it is in paragraphs - wheres_my_job

[ In Reply To ..]
so far. It is a long one so please bear with me

US DEPT OF LABOR RE MT
To Whom It May Concern;

I have been a medical transcriptionist for 16 years. I have been working at home 14 of those 16 years. When I started out working at home, I was offered 7-1/2 cpl. I am now consistently offered 6-7 cpl for straight transcription and 3-4 cpl for editing.

I am lucky to make $20 a day. That includes running out of work, the ridiculously low pay and the tons of account specifics we have to abide by. I have yet to find a company that pays a decent wage that has enough work to go around. Why are these companies (also called MTSOs...Medical Transcription Service Owners) allowed to get away with paying third-world country rates?? I would like to know.

I have been close to homeless so many times and the stress is unbelievable. I am on every sort of public assistance I can get, including food stamps and I qualify for everything. Why in the world has our pay rate gone down consistently? We are told by MTSOs it is because we do not have to worry about gas money, money for a sitter, lunches eaten out, etc. This is NOT made up for with the low rates.

There needs to be a law in place that states if the MTSO overhires or the account(s) run out of work causing extremely low pay, we will STILL be paid at least minimum wage for our state. It is unheard of for any other industry to pay such low rates.

We MTs have taken it for too long and I know I am not going to take anymore. However, I am between a rock and a hard place. I just got a job after being on unemployment for 4 months.

I earned more on UI than when I work. The job I have now is IC (independent contractor) so if I lose my job, no UI for me. An IC is supposed to work when he/she can, however every company I apply to also wants a set schedule from me. Is this not a form of tax evasion? Making us work a specific schedule while still calling us ICs?

I get child support, but it is not enough to live on unless I get a job that pays a decent rate.

I have enough experience that I should be getting offers of 10-12 cents per gross line and not 65-character line or per VBC (visible black character, which some companies state is industry standard and it is not). The difference between gross line and 65-character line is that a gross line is everything on a line even if it is just one word. The 65-character line is paying that much for every 65 characters typed, but, believe it or not, some companies do not even pay for spaces!! This is absurd.

I really need to know that someone out there will do something and I am trying my very best to see that the slave wages are banned!! I would really like the MTSOs that offer these low wages, VBC wages, no spaces wages are fined AND made to pay their MTs what they are worth...which is a whole lot more than MOST are getting!!

I know I am a great MT. I get consistent QA (quality assurance) scores of 98% and higher. Please help me. We have nowhere else to turn!!!

Also, editing rates should be the same as straight transcription. We are told we should be able to do double the rate (average is 200 lph and with editing 400 lines per hour), but that is not the case. These MTSOs are thieves in my opinion as they continually offer these very low rates.

Also, I would like to know why some American MTSOs are sending work overseas! We need to keep our records in the states. We American MTs are losing our jobs to offshoring. Please do not confuse the term offshore with outsource. Outsource simply means sending the work to home MTs.
I would appreciate your help in any way.

Sincerely

FYI - I'm not OP, just wanted to give you paragraphs - wheres_my_job

[ In Reply To ..]
nm

letter - reality

[ In Reply To ..]
It won't work. I'm being truthful. The simple reason is advanced technology. Everyone can gripe all day about SR, but it's here to stay and us, along with LOTS of other people,are experiencing the same thing. Not just MTs. The DOL is inundated with letters. SO many people are struggling right now, unfortunately, they might think you are fortunate enough to have a job AND child support.

Everyone spends tons of time coming up with how bad we have it, but the pay is not going to change. Look at the farmers. They work hard. Their prices are going down, too. Milk has gone up, but they do not see that profit.

A long personalized letter definitely would not be an attention getter.

If you are doing that badly ... - Why do you not find a different line of work?

[ In Reply To ..]
That is what they will wonder upon reading your letter. Why don't you find a different line of work? If you are doing so poorly, why do you stay in that job?

You are not a prisoner You are not an indentured servant. You just act like them.

That is what I cannot understand. Why don't you all get some training and change careers? MTs all over the country are doing that, but not you. If you would spend half the time learning as you spend protesting, you would be a lot better off.

Doing badly - Me again

[ In Reply To ..]
You have a good point and I have wondered about that myself. In most jobs, the employer tells the employee, "this is how it is" in terms of pay, benefits, hours, etc. If it is not to the employee's liking, they don't take the job, and move on to something else. If their current employeer deals them a bad hand, they quit. MT is what it is, so deal with it. The DOL knows nothing about CPL, ICs, VBC or the rest of it. If you think you are owed wages you never received or should be paid minimum wage for NJA or down time, consult an attorney or address it at the state level, it might be better received. You seem to have some genuine concerns but not willing to do much about it except complain to each other; that accomplishes nothing.


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