Your Tax Dollars At Work and Play
So what do you get for $200,000+ dollars a month from consultants and outsourced executives? The Dirt asked hospital employees what they think of our new management. The most common answer was, “What management?” Most Highland employees have never seen the “turnaround team.” One housekeeper said he thought he saw one but it turned out to be a patient’s lawyer. It is rumored that our leaders are busy consulting among themselves, power pointing, writing expense reports, and spending, $56 thousand dollars in April alone.
The consultants have engaged in a very effective cost cutting strategy, they aren’t paying the bills. If they continue this strategy another year the deficit may disappear, the hospital spends thousands maybe millions on things like blood, medications and surgical supplies. Although no one can stop the Board of Trustees from spending millions and millions on consultants, the hospital staff must now get multiple signatures for any spending of greater then $2,500 dollars. These signatures come from our out-of-state executives. Since executive signatures can be hard to get, staff that have to buy expensive items like AIDs drugs and chemotherapy spend their time writing lots of little purchase orders.
Before the Board of Trustees tilted the hospital budget with their consultant-spending spree, the Medical Center’s finances had begun to improve, according the pre-consultant CFO, Robert Strawn. So with the new state of the art Critical Care and Clinic Building, the budget improving and Measure A money about to come in, why did the Board of Supervisors search out a “slash and burn” consulting firm? With the future looking so bright why didn’t they bring in permanent administrators with the skills to improve operations and a desire to advocate for the Medical Center?
Could it be just old-fashioned greed and self-interest? If the Medical Center gets cut to the bone or goes bankrupt, where does the Measure A money go? The top county bureaucrat, Dave Kears, insisted on getting his piece of Measure A up front, 25% of the yearly revenue (25%of $90 million.) Here’s where the “bait and switch” comes in. Voters never would have supported $90 million dollars a year to be spent at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats. They know better, they supported the Medical Center and the services it provides. That’s why the politicians need consultants. No real hospital administrator would let the county take money away from the Medical Center; the consultants on the other hand might.
Rumor is that Alameda County’s Health Care Czar, Dave Kears, already has his hand out and wants an additional $10 million dollars a year from the Medical Center to go back to the county. They can’t take the Measure A money directly, that would be too obvious, the money has to be laundered. Where can the Medical Center get $10 million dollars a year? Well, those consultants got right on it, they determined that by laying off 350 hospital service providers you could save $14 million dollars a year. After giving $10 million to the county there would still be a $4 million dollar cushion for any additional consultant spending or expenses. After cutbacks, kickbacks and consultants, the Medical Center’s patients will be lucky to get new band-aids out of this deal.