Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Time for Better Choices with Patient Care Dollars

 So let me see if I have this right.

Hartford Healthcare has backed out of affiliation talks with Day Kimball Hospital, blaming cuts to Medicaid announced by the governor two weeks ago.
Those cuts are estimated by Day Kimball management to amount to $5.6 million a year. Granted, that is a lot of money, even more than the $3 million a year the CEO of Hartford HealthCare receives in salary and bonuses annually.

"Both our organizations have just taken a gut punch," said James Blazar, a Hartford HealthCare senior vice president overseeing strategy.

As large as $5.6 million is, it pales in comparison to the $103.5 million that Hartford HealthCare made in 2014 and the $346 million it made in 2013.

"Hartford HealthCare has every right to make a corporate decision not to work with the smaller Day Kimball Hospital. But when it has made over $800 million the last five years, the claims made are a bit outrageous," Gian-Carl Casa, undersecretary for legislative affairs in the state budget office, said in an email.

Seems like Hartford HealthCare could afford it.

Yes, some hospitals like Day Kimball, Windham and others are struggling.
That's why legislators voted to provide them with more resources last year.

It seems like as soon as that extra money went did Hartford HealthCare.

Which brings me to this point.

A hospital is not a hospital is not a hospital.

Some hospitals are struggling. Some hospitals are doing fine. Some hospitals are struggling but are part of larger health networks that are doing fine.
Some hospital leaders are starting to look at top management compensation while others continue to give bonuses, even with losses. Some are allowing top executives to cut vital services and lay off caregivers, making the growing income inequality problem in Connecticut worse in the process. 

"This means their highly compensated executives are telling Connecticut taxpayers to supplement and subsidize the hospital corporation's high salaries and extraordinarily positive revenue margins," Casa said. "Hartford HealthCare is doing more than fine, and it's wrong for them to ask taxpayers to foot the bill."

We have been consistent with our message to the governor and legislators.

Hospitals that truly need help should be given it and hospitals that do the right thing in the treatment of their workers and the patients they serve should be rewarded. It’s time for larger hospitals to lead by example, cut compensation for top executives and put money back towards quality healthcare for all. 
We applaud any hospital administrators that lead by example and choose not to waste patient care dollars fighting their own workers. Administrators that consider executive compensation freezes or roll-backs, and put the needs of their community first -- and who remember it should always be patients before profits.
We applaud the legislators for sending distressed hospitals extra help last year and for advocating for a reversal of the recent cuts. We applaud the governor for stating he will listen to reasonable solutions and announcing Monday that his administration will address the concerns of hospitals that are losing money, but, as he said, "that doesn't mean we should have to give money to every hospital."
It's time for overcompensated hospital executives -- just like Wall Street and for-profit corporations’ CEOs -- to pay their fair share. It's time for financially flush health networks that benefit from tax breaks and public subsidies to help community hospitals that are struggling. 
It's time to remember that the business of healthcare is to care for the health of the community, every community.

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