Was Kentucky Spared from CHI Layoffs?

Is there still a nursing shortage in Kentucky?

Earlier this year, and following a disappointing report for the first quarter of FY 2015, Catholic Health Initiatives announced that it would cut 1500 jobs nationally by the end of January.  The positions targeted were administrative and support staff representing some 1.7% of CHI’s total 90,500-person workforce.  KentuckyOne Health (CHI’s operation in the Commonwealth) had already absorbed an previous layoff of 500 employees one year ago but remains the weakest sister financially among CHI’s regions.  Locally, concerns were shared that we might take another hit this round. Has that happened?

To be fair, CHI is not the only big system to be laying off people.  A nationwide shift from inpatient to outpatient services has even the prestigious Cleveland and Mayo clinics trimming their staffs.  Frankly, I have not heard much of anything about layoffs in Kentucky– at least in the Louisville market. Even a usually productive Google search did not reveal much for me.  The most notable activity is in Omaha where CHI’s hospital and clinical system have no current network contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  The drop in patient volume there is said to have sparked layoffs of at least 156 people including physicians! Additional job cuts were anticipated through attrition and by not filling open positions.  There have been layoffs reported in Oregon too. Otherwise things seem to be quiet. Is that what happens when administrative jobs get cut?

In fact, in the usual on-line places, KentuckyOne is advertising to fill quite a few clinical positions in Louisville. I am informed that some modest hiring of clinical-support people is also occurring. I do not know what is happening in the rest of the state.  Good! Lets face it– you can’t run a hospital or medical office without doctors, nurses, and technicians.  If you terminate too many of these, people tend to notice, including accreditors and regulators.  I asked KentuckyOne how much and in what way Kentucky might have shared in CHI’s nationwide job-reduction program but did not receive a reply. Continue reading “Was Kentucky Spared from CHI Layoffs?”

You Can’t Always Get [What You Pay For]

But if you try real hard— you might do better than Venezuela!

Providing healthcare to [some] Americans is the best economic development bonanza going. Alas, here in the exceptional USA, many people do not have access to mainstream healthcare.  Worse however, as pointed out in today’s Wall Street Journal [yes, I do subscribe], nearly all Venezuelans needing even standard medical or surgical care are plum out of luck— unless they can find and then afford to buy their own medical supplies from insulin to heart valves.  It sounds awful. Hyperinflation makes already overpriced medical devices and drugs impossible to afford. An exodus of physicians, including those whom were loaned by Cuba, makes matters worse. The situation is beyond frustrating for both patients and physicians alike.  At least our feared but imaginary American death panels would have actual choices to make!   Venezuelans are in very real death-spirals of the flesh, not the death-spirals health insurance companies face when they are left holding the bag for sick people when healthy and less ill people fail to enroll in their plans.

The disheartening article included the following graphic showing Venezuela at the bottom of the list of Latin American countries, spending in 2012 only 1.6% of its gross national product on healthcare (and that was 2 years ago). The numbers from the World Bank are only slightly different.  If fact, according to that source, its healthcare spending in 2012 puts Venezuela at the bottom of the list of every other ranked country in the world, occupying a healthcare category all of its own.  That country is suffering the melt-down that apocalyptic American alarmists either warn of, or alternatively fantasize about as a starting point from which to rebuild from the ashes. Continue reading “You Can’t Always Get [What You Pay For]”

UofL Faculty Senate Voices Harsh Criticism of Executive Bonuses.

Andrew Wolfson of the Courier-Journal has already reported on Wednesday’s meeting of UofL’s Faculty Senate. I was there to as a member of the Executive Faculty and want to add my comments. The Faculty Senate has elected members from every school and college and is the faculty body of highest jurisdiction. I represented the School of Medicine on the Senate for a number of years.

The principal item on the agenda of interest to me was a discussion item labeled “Foundation compensation.” Although the intention of the Senate Chairperson was to limit discussion to the deferred compensation of the President, Provost, and the President’s Chief of Staff; subsequent discussion by the faculty expanded that focus to include the separation payments made last year to at least three other senior University officers and vice-presidents that were accompanied by controversial agreements of nondisclosure. The discussion opened an obvious can of worms. Mr. Wolfson by no means overstated the degree of faculty concern. Not a single faculty member expressed support for what the University and the University of Louisville Foundation were doing. Continue reading “UofL Faculty Senate Voices Harsh Criticism of Executive Bonuses.”

Major Shift in Scope of Litigation in Norton Healthcare v. Univ. of Louisville

Some major demands appear to be dropped… at least for now.

I made the pilgrimage to Frankfort this afternoon. A lot has happened since my last dip into the legal documents of this case. There were thousands of pages to review but at 25 cents per copy, I had to fall back on taking photographs of the most recent 1600 pages. There was a court hearing only yesterday! A summary of that session is attached. It looks like the otherwise short hearing was interrupted by some off-the-record discussion between the parties. The index to the video of the court proceedings attributes to Judge Wingate that “what remains in this case is the issue of the amount of the reimbursement that needs to be paid from Norton. This should be able to be taken care of through mediation.” Additionally, “The hearing on the 18th is not needed. The parties should continue in the discovery process.” Continue reading “Major Shift in Scope of Litigation in Norton Healthcare v. Univ. of Louisville”