Monday, December 20, 2004

Angels in Oakland

Bureaucrats love numbers and the end of the year calls for the final count. So here’s some numbers for you 86, 109, 108, 84 and 80. Murders in Oakland for the last five years friends, children, husbands, wives and grandparents lost. Oakland actually has a neighborhood called “ghost town” of course city hall doesn’t recognize the name, it's bad PR. Oakland has become a city of ghosts, of angels and people whose lives have been forever changed by violence.

Our democratic machine has approached its people and their strife from a position of fear and ignorance. Liberal democrats wring their hands, “Why don’t the youth vote?” “Why are they so angry?” “What is wrong with them?” Then they vote for more prisons and close schools. I meet Oakland youth everyday who have personal experience with violence. They have ideas opinions and a very thoughtful perspective of the world and their place in it. They don’t vote or trust politicians because politicians have done nothing to win their respect or trust. They want to be heard, to be taught and to be loved and we do little or nothing to meet their simple needs.

Poor neighborhoods can’t get a beat cop in Oakland, but affluent enclaves like Montclair get two. Mayor Brown having done little or nothing for Oakland youth now plans to exploit their suffering to promote his own political career. Having played politics with our schools and our police services, leaving both much worse than he found them, Brown, a ruthless pollster, plans to run against crime and inner city youth for state attorney general. He will appeal to fear and a tired white liberal base, who remembers him as a governor, back when he cared and came to work.

Mayor what’s his name can’t help Oakland, leadership and hope in Oakland won’t come from has been politicians; it will come from our children. RIP, Rest in Peace, our children understand death and in a funny way life better than most forty year olds. These kids know the world in a hard dark way and face it with courage and hope. They love and remember lost friends, the people our politicians are so determined to forget. They know that to our leaders they are just troubling statistics, “ urban youth problems” not people. I had one young girl tell me, “ I feel like garbage, something that someone has thrown away and forgotten.”

Local democrats need to stop sucking up to developers, stop building ballparks and ice rinks, put down their spread sheets, walk out of their focus groups and go and meet our children. Every week these young people come through Highland Hospital their lives lost or forever changed by violence, not once in twelve years have I seen a politician come to talk to these kids or their families.

You can’t solve problems you don’t understand. Oakland’s political machine doesn’t care about our youth and our youth know it. We just voted money for violence prevention, let's see those politicians walk into the neighborhoods, the prisons and the hospitals, talk to our children then bring them back to city hall. Urban youth problems cannot be solved without buy in from urban youth. If you want to change the culture you have to understand it. RIP doesn’t just mean "Rest in Peace", it means Rich in Potential and if democrats continue to ignore these children, Rise in Protest.


Well, the Dirt’s a data driven blog so here are the numbers. I don’t want anyone saying I don’t know how to crunch a number or spread a sheet. Hits year to date 9,766. Average daily unique hits 24. Biggest day 129. Biggest fans consultants, they hit often and hard from Hiltons, hospitals and financial institutions all over the county. Dean Whitter, Deloitte and Touche read the Dirt; these hits definitely don’t come from my relatives, we don’t have any money to manage. Hospitals dig the Dirt: Kaiser, Children’s, UCSF, Highland, and more. Politicians read the Dirt: Alameda County, City and County of San Francisco, the City of Oakland and the California Assembly read the Dirt. Reporters read the blog and patients love the Dirt. Universities, unions and other hapless hospitals workers, under siege by consultants, all dig the Dirt.

The Dirt has more than 300 subscribers and has sent out close to 7,000 emails. An average of 47% of the emails sent are opened and an average of 32% of the readers click through to the blog. People even Google the Dirt “that dirty thang,” “the daily poop” or “low budget blog.” The Dirt gets lots of reads but no respect.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Well, it’s official according to the authority board the deconsultification process has begun. Deconsulting a public institution is sort of like desalinization, it’s a great idea that would save lives and feed the hungry but no one has quite worked out how to do it. The Dirt loves to be helpful, so how about a going away party? “Come on lets party, fiesta. All night long.” Send your “Adios Cambio Celebration” ideas to the Daily Dirt.

The Consultants Who Stole Christmas

“ While decorations are intended to create a festive atmosphere….Many decorative items can pose a potential fire hazard that could result in a disaster.” -excerpted official ACMC memo

If our leaders would come down on mismanagement half as hard as they came down on Christmas, the hospital would be in the black by now. Managers were also treated to sermon on politically correct and administratively approved language to describe the holidays. They’re taking the bull by the horns on this one. Caregivers speculate that the rash of holiday memos and directives is just Cambio’s not so subtle way of saying, “there will be no free Christmas dinner, we’re just too cheap.”

So aside from the recent morale boosters, what’s up? Well Highland nurses, many of whom already have other jobs, get more discouraged by the day. Senior management continues to heap more menial administrative tasks on the already overburdened clinicians. Nurses are now responsible for getting the History and Physical Exam form from the physician and faxing it to the pharmacy. Come on guys, everyone should be responsible for their own paperwork and getting it where it has to go. So starting last week nurses the hapless middle women of this misadventure began faxing all these forms to the pharmacy. The pharmacy ran out of fax paper and started calling back nursing stations to complain about the deluge of paper. This new plan would have been really bad for morale, but since on many nursing floors less than half the staff is permanent, the temps, travelers and registry could care less. They don’t worry about paperwork. Normal management wouldn’t try to run a McDonalds with less than half regular staff, but Cambio seems to think you can run an ICU this way. Oh, well.

Cambio’s keeping the budget lines down by not spending. You need 65 signatures to spend cash and at any given time 20 of those signatures are in Tennessee, Texas or just resting up at the Hilton. Parts don’t get bought, machines don’t get fixed and even the rare nurse who wants work at the medical center doesn’t get hired. Hey, I bet that budget’s looking better though.

Measure A -the rest of the cash

To read the Tribune's report on the rest of the
Measure A funds click here:

Article Link

Monday, December 06, 2004

Holiday Hospital

Well it’s that time of year again. Yeah, the shopping, the eating, the Christmas music and family fun that never ends. The overwhelming pressure to be full of joy and good cheer is enough to unmask even the most latent psychological problems. There’s no doubt about it the holidays can be hard on your health, but they’re good for our business.

Dietary indiscretion, isn’t that a great term? It sounds like you slept with a Ho Ho. Actually, dietary indiscretion fills lots of hospital beds, it’s the salt. Tips people right over the edge into heart failure. Trust me, I spent one holiday season in the Critical Care Unit fighting with my father-in-law over a bag of pork rinds.

Booze always fills a few beds. Alcohol, cars and testosterone: it’s that magic combination that keeps trauma centers full. Drinking is a time-honored strategy for coping with the family gathering.

Then there’s always the flu, the freeways and the family feuds. Doesn’t it feel good to be needed?

The Unholy Alliance

Did you know Alameda county runs an HMO? That’s right folks, we can’t afford a hospital or clinics for the uninsured but we have adequate funds to run an insurance company to administer public healthcare dollars- it’s called the Alameda Alliance for Health.

The Alliance was established in 1996 to “administer” healthcare dollars mostly Medi-Cal. The Alliance was Dave Kears’ brainchild why run a hospital when you could build a bureaucracy- all the money none of the hassles. When the Alliance was established most of the profitable Medi-Cal clients, young women with children were immediately sucked out of the county hospital. The Alliance referred them to private hospitals. Many of the medical center’s financial problems date back to the creation of the Alameda Alliance.

How could Mr. Kears sell such a bad idea to our well-meaning but inept county supervisors? The same way George Bush is trying to sell out Social Security. Dave Kears said the Alliance offered clients, “choice.” Whenever Dave or George say, “choice” one should understand that they plan to dismantle some public service.