Monday, September 06, 2004

“Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

Well, Cambio Health Solutions took another decisive step toward that cliff they keep flirting with. They had close to a thousand employees walk off the job. Those that didn’t walk out the consultants locked out. Negotiations, lay-offs, board meetings, everything except Cambio’s weekly paychecks has ground to a halt. Sure the Board of Trustees and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors are having closed, hot, sweaty, and unproductive meetings, but nothing is happening.

The medical center pays millions for leadership, PR and experts so what do you get when they put their heads together? That’s right, another memo, last week the medical center employees were treated to the, “why can’t we be friends memo.” Arg! Stop, already with the patronizing dribble, it just irritates people. Save a tree! Remember what your mother used to say, “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!”

The problem with healthcare consultants is that they’re “experts.” Since they’re supposed to know more than the poor slobs they’re sent in to help, they don’t listen. The medical center’s employees have been valiantly trying to explain things to the consultants but they just can’t seem to shut up long enough to hear anything. They have a set game plan, never mind that they’re playing football on a basketball court with a bunch of gymnasts.

The thing about healthcare is that it’s both complex and regional. You cannot ignore the caregivers, the community, the politics, and the services around a hospital and understand your patient’s needs. After nine months the “experts” still don’t understand the medical center’s problems, so they can’t possibly implement a solution.

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