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MERRITT ISLAND, FL – Scientists have been planning a human mission to Mars for exploration and habitation for decades.  Successful travel to and habitation of Mars would be a monumental accomplishment for science, physics, and huge source of national pride.  However, these tremendously costly plans have been scrutinized for their practicality, since billions of dollars put towards this endeavor will not directly benefit society.

Proposed site of new SNF

Economists, scientists, and hospital administrators have teamed up in the new coalition, “Discharge to Mars.”  The mission of travel to the red planet takes a drastic turn to a more practical and tangible objective.  The basic principle will be to discharge the otherwise complex and difficult patient to a skilled nursing facility (or SNF) on Mars.

This may include patients without insurance, patients who’s family is not willing to provide assistance with home care, patients who need long term IV antibiotics and therapy, patients who continually readmit to the hospital, patient’s with incurable and complicated or uninteresting diseases, patients who are allergic to all narcotics other than Dilaudid, and patient’s who simply don’t want to be discharged home.

The 5,000 bed SNF would include a state of the art PT/OT gym for the 30 minutes of required daily therapy, Olympic-sized swimming pool heated to 294 Kelvin, and licensed physicians available by Mars Skype 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with only a 36 hour video chat lag.

The new plans have drawn quite a buzz in hospital circles, and physicians have already begun to submit their nominations for pilot patients to the coalition.  “I’ve been saying we should put Mr. Brown on a rocketship to Mars for months!” exclaimed neurologist Dr. Bruce Greenik about his chronic autoimmune degenerative disease patient.

Hospitalist Dr. Elizabeth Burnt nominated 3 of her own patients, one with chronic pancreatitis who bounces from SNF to home to the ER constantly, one patient with COPD and monthly ICU admissions, and one uninsured homeless patient admitted for dehydration who has been admitted for 167 days and counting while Medicaid is processing for his discharge.

Some concern has been raised about the one-way nature of the flight plans, since a return flight plan does meet the economic standards set by the coalition.  Economist John Grey explains that the one way nature of the plans “increases the statistical likelihood of success, and allows the project to move forward faster.”  Dr. Abigail Polzner, a emergency medicine specialist at Henry Ford, endorses the one way plan as a benefit, indicating that the definitive nature of the discharge is “not just a small step for hospitals and doctors, but a giant leap for the health care system.”

The first mission, MARS SNF ONE, is planned for 2018.  Careful planning and rigorous timetables have been set to accomplish this ambitious launch.  Although the projected date is several years in the future, physician’s are confident their currently nominated patients will still be eligible for the mission in 2018.

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