Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Public Information

Well all of a sudden the bean counters and temps running the medical center want to share information. The many million dollar “plan” is now public, available on CD. Digital documents, impressive! Well if you can’t save lives you can at least save a tree. Maybe Cambio Health Solutions consultants are closeted tree huggers.

“The plan” is not completely without merit but it is humorless. It consists of mostly numbers on paper. These guys can make some real contributions to getting bills posted and paid. It’s when they start to dismember patient services where they get kind of scary. But what about the “secret data?” Well, a nurse with a nose for numbers read through the whole report. According to Lynn, “consultants are like slugs, they leave a trail”, buried in the pages of electronic prose she found a reference to a book. The reference got her online where voila! She found that “proprietary healthcare data” could be purchased for $500 dollars. Five hundred dollars to 3.2 millions dollars (consulting fees paid by the medical center), in sales that’s called an excellent mark up.

What about the rest of the medical center’s brain trust, the authority board? Well they’re meeting away. The authority board is the county supervisor’s answer to Jerry Springer. In an effort to discourage public participation meetings are announced at the last moment and get crammed into small hot meeting rooms, Sheriff Plummer and his merry men flank the members. The last public meeting had 4 commanders, four uniformed sheriffs and Mr. P himself. County bureaucrats, the consultants and the executive temps try to fill the room so that community members and staff won’t fit. Board member Irene Weinreb does an excellent judge Judy impression, she wrestles the gavel from other trustees and threatens to clear the room and the president of the Alameda county board of supervisors, Gaile Steele power knits throughout the proceedings.

Though highly entertaining the authority board has no real power, the county supervisors get to make all the real decisions (most of them bad.) So what are these four fearless democrats doing about this mess? If you were a liberal democrat like Nate Miley, Keith Carson, Alice Lai-Bitker or Gail Steele what would you do? Clearly the public wants and needs a public hospital; in fact they’re willing to pay for it. Clearly there’s a vacuum of leadership the size of Texas and the supervisors and their staff are being flooded with concerned calls and letters about the dangers of implementing “ the plan.” Fortunately the real financial crisis ended with Measure, “A” which put the hospital quite close to break even, so the radical service cuts could easily be avoided. The supervisors could easily appoint some new board members, stop the service cuts, and move toward bringing in some permanent management, executives that understand hospital operations, as well as staff cuts and collections. So what have these dazzling democrats actually done? Well mostly they’ve been dodging phone calls and avoiding pulic meetings. The only decisive move taken recently has been to raise the medical center’s rent by close to two million dollars!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Petition Progress Report

Wow! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, 171 signatures to state attorney general Lockyer and they aren’t all my relatives, in fact I don’t know most of them, but I sure like them. Here’s what some of them had to say.

I've needed and used services-don't cut! - Marie Kochaver

Thirty years ago, County Medical Centers from two thirds of California's 58 counties were privatized in a highly political battle for all of that public money. Alameda County survived those attacks from private corporate raiders. The Alameda County Medical Center is among the best in the world, providing the most efficiency, best outcomes, training for new medical & nursing professionals (who provide their exquisite technical skills to the voters working double their contracted hours essentially below minimum wage). What do you think will happen if we have a serious earthquake or terrorist disaster & no longer have a county medical center? Where are women going to go for prenatal care & birth of their babies? Do you really want the cost of the rise in births & birth defects you can expect from cutbacks to land squarely on this County's educational, welfare, &, potentially, criminal budgets? Ask yourself, as every voter & news agency soon will be asking you: Who stands to PROFIT from this attack? Someone does.
-Elyse Eisenberg MD

I voted to keep Highland open. What's going on? - Chris Knepper

If you haven't signed yet or want to read all the comments click on the link: http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveACMC/

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sign This!

Dear Friends,

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors are either unwilling or unable to ensure the competent administration of Measure “A” funds. In fact the Board of Supervisors are almost entirely occupied thinking up new ways to take funds away from the Medical Center and put them back in the county’s pocket ( a 1.7 million dollar rent increase being the most recent example.) So the Dirt is going to California’s top cop, Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Bill is rumored to have his eye on the Governor’s seat, so it is important that we see what he’s made of. Does he care about health care? Does he listen to the little guy or just his political cronies?

The Dirt needs you. Please sign the petition and send it to a friend, click here:


Thanks and yes my mom signed.

Ann Nomura

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Jury Duty

Well the Grand Jury put out its final report on the Medical Center and its current management team Cambio Consulting, the Tribune called it “scathing.” The Dirt found it well reasoned and insightful in fact they made some very helpful suggestions:

Recommendation 04-02:
The Board of Trustees must carefully scrutinize Cambio Health Solutions recommendations, implementing those, which improve financial efficiency without sacrificing medical care. For those of us who don’t speak bureaucrat this says, “we know you really want to save money, but try not to kill anyone!”

Recommendation 04-03:
The Board of Trustees must carefully review any proposed increase in fees and payments to Cambio health Solutions. Translation, holly moley! Who negotiated these contracts? And what were they smoking? This is the biggest rip off since the Raiders. Don’t let this Board sign over another penny to these guys.

But hey, that’s just the highlights you can read the whole report online at:


The Dirt put a few questions to our legal advisor, Elvis the cat. What, for example do you need to do to get indicted by the grand jury? Does the Board of Trustees have to read this report or follow the recommendations? Will we get to see a politician or bureaucrat do the perp walk? Elvis, the cat refused to get out from under the bed.

The Dirt isn’t a low budget blog; it’s a no budget blog, so if you have free legal advice or opinions please post.

Meeting Matters

So many different groups of people are upset about the current management of the Medical Center and the mismanagement of the public’s trust and public funds, that they have banded together and formed a group, CURE Alameda County Medical Center (Citizens United for a Responsible ACMC.) They have decided to take a very pragmatic approach to our local elected officials, public pressure and political embarrassment. Sure it’s cheaper and faster just to buy a politician but this is so much more fun and so much more democratic. There’s nothing more frightening to a politician than a room full of focused angry voters, so in an effort to persuade the County Supervisors to do the right thing they are having a town hall meeting. Plan to attend, but if you can’t just visit your Supervisor in person.

Town Hall Meeting
Thursday July 22
6:00 pm
First Unitarian Church
785 14th Street

For more information click on: