Thursday, June 25, 2015

Patients before profits

It's state budget time in Connecticut and hospital CEOs didn't get everything they wanted so they're taking it out on their employees and patients.

Across the state, the dwindling number of "healthcare systems" are crying poverty and announcing layoffs.
These "not for profit" hospital systems are subsidized with taxpayer money.

Who is hurt?
Employees who dedicate themselves to the care of others and the patients they care for.

Let me give you one example.
Hartford Healthcare is the "not for profit" parent of Backus Hospital (where I worked for 21 years) and several other hospitals. 
This week they announced layoffs that will effect 418 people!
The Norwich Bulletin reports that in the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2013, the most recent available from the IRS, East Region President David Whitehead earned $1.09 million!

That's almost $21,000/week!
An environmental services worker making $10/hour makes $20,800/year.

BTW, "not for profit" Backus Hospital earned a $48 million profit in 2013.
It gets worse.
Mr Whitehead was only the 17th highest paid Connecticut hospital official that year.
In fact, Hartford Healthcare CEO, Elliot Joseph racked in $2.1 million and chief Operating Officer Jeffery Flaks $1.01 million.

When asked if these top earners have received less pay since 2013 as a result of the financial difficulties their spokesperson said the company does not comment on "specific employee compensation."

In an article in the New Haven Register, Connecticut Hospital Association lobbyist Stephen Frayne said the discussions about salaries is "a distraction."

He's right.

The bigger problem is that layoffs cause a lack of sufficient nurses and techs at the bedside, environmental services people to clean deadly hospital bugs, food services people to provide wholesome nutrition, etc.

I think retiring AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters, an LPN and former state senator, said it best in responding to a statement that Connecticut hospital corporations were "transforming how we deliver health care."
She said, "so far, it looks more like they are hijacking how our state's community hospitals have traditionally served the public good. They -along with the lavishly compensated top health networks across the state- have made health care delivery look more like a game of Pac-Man than the very serious business of providing quality, affordable health care.  It's long past the time they put patients before profits - something they are obligated to do in exchange for their nonprofit, tax-exempt status."

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