Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pete Nicks a gifted young Bay Area film maker and father has created a blog of the Highland waiting room. It's a must see for anyone who cares about healthcare, Oakland or their neighbors.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Two Cents

I’m not a strategic planner or one of the big wig policy types like Dave Kears. In fact when we (myself and other little unimportant people) lobbied and fought for the construction of the clinic building at Highland mostly we fought Dave Kears and the county supervisors. They were arrogant and dismissive of neighbors, unions, hospital employees and patients. They treated just as they have treated the residents, unions and patients who support keeping the San Leandro Hospital open as an acute care facility.

Healthcare like education is best planned with community involvement and support. The coalition opposing the takeover of San Leandro hospital by ACMC are the very people who supported Measure “A” and who fight for access to healthcare. The healthcare landscape for the East Bay is being re-designed it should not be done in secret, and without consulting those who need the service or provide it. Whether ACMC’s is able to move to San Leandro Hospital or not we have lost something more important than real estate we have lost a community's trust.

Public meeting on San Leandro hospital

Great video of meeting on EIR of Eden and Medical Center purchase of San Leandro hospital. Bloggers rock.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Martini Madness: Putting the Fun Back in Fund Raising

Well, once again the medical center finds itself in a financial ditch. The County of Alameda plans to continue balancing its budget on the diminishing Measure “A” monies. In spite of a tanking economy the sick stayed home or homeless for two consecutive months creating a revenue crisis, some very ugly pie charts and a lot of acid reflux for our ace executive team.

So how do we save the medical center? The Board of Trustees thinks they’ve been doing just a supper job, thank you very much. Many of the trustees have been sitting on the Board for so many years that speculation is that they’re trying to qualify for the county retirement plan. The aging board feels so confident about the medical center’s bright future that they reduced the meeting schedule to every other month and may soon move to conference calls. These tireless public servants have lots of white table clothes parties with the executive team to celebrate themselves. It’s kind of a noblesse oblige culture, the peasants, the patients and the non-native English speakers are discouraged from participating.

So, we need a high end kind of helpful, something that would appeal to “haves” to help out the “have nots.” Something classy like a golf tournament, a ball, or a wine tasting, something that gets Senator’s, developers, heiresses to open their check books and their hearts to our little healthcare system. So here it is folks, listen carefully, “Martini Madness” the search for the Highland Hospital signature mixed drink. Come and get soused with us, it’s OK we’re medical professionals. We even have some early entries into the contest, and remember, you’ve put worse things in your mouth.

The Highland Highball (non-alcoholic): 3 parts Redbull, 1 part Ritalin served in a camel bag

The Highland Handshake (1): 3 parts Yoo-hoo, 2 parts Vicodin, served chilled in a large latex glove with a Milk of Magnesium chaser

Ghetto Juice: 1 part Sunny D, 3 parts Two Buck Chuck, 1 part whatever, served over ice in a urine sample cup

The Designate Driver (it will be all the way out of your system long before you hit the road) 2 parts Golightly (2) and 3 parts Grey Goose

Remember it’s more than a party it’s PR. See you there.

1. Highland Handshake: a rectal exam. We just want to get to know you. 2. Golightly: for all you non-medical types this stuff’s basically Drano for humans.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Save San Leandro Hospital

It has been hard to get good information about the county supervisor's secret real estate deal with Sutter. I thought the public revoked their secret real estate deal privileges after the Raider's Deal, but I guess not. The sups are still wheeling and dealing. California Nurses Association (CNA) has done great work on the San Leandro Hospital closure and what it will mean for healthcare consumers and providers. UHW used to make sure Sutter didn't arbitrarily cut jobs and services to the poor but SEIU's pretty much gutted UHW, they appear to be dead in the water on local healthcare issues.

This is a great website on the netroots campaign to save San Leandro Hospital

Monday, May 11, 2009

San Leandro Hospital and Secret Sutter Deals

Dave Kears is still the Man. He helped Sutter Healthcare divest of one of their few community hospitals that actually serve the poor and he signed the medical center up for more loans and a commercial real estate deal. ACMC has to move rehabilitation services out of the hills and into the hood. Sutter the mega-monster healthcare monopolist gets to close a hospital with the emergency room in a working class neighborhood in San Leandro, the medical center gets more debt and rehab in the hood and the county gets a priceless piece of real estate at Fairmont.

Rumors of Dave Kears retirement were evidently premature, his dream of the medical center as an Emergency Room and patient transfer station may yet be realized.

Read it and weep

The union guys over at NUHW put up a website to help medical center members understand contract, political and worksite issues. There is a good post about the new Paid Time Off agreement and how to read your paycheck. Check it out:

Get on the right side of healthcare reform

Big pharma and insurance companies are working hard to keep good ideas out of the healthcare reform discussion this group is fighting to keep increasing and improving public healthcare on the table. Take the time sign up.

Stand with Dean

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Which County Supervisor is this ?

Whoops ! Nate was in the picture above the clown. My bad, you can click through for a picture of Super Nate on parade. They should have put him near the ponies instead of the clowns.
This image is from a local girl's photo blog She's got great pics.

Fairmont Rehabilitation Moving

This is big news! This article doesn't detail any differences in the costs of running a facility at San Leandro Hospital vs. Fairmont but it looks likes a big move may be coming fast.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

SEIU's Sandwich Offensive

That’s right SEIU 1021 feels the way to the hearts and minds of medical center employees runs through their stomachs. They sent organizers with sandwiches, chips and drinks. SEIU organizers are kind of like Moonies or Mormons; righteous, dogmatic and talkers not listeners.
I think Andy has out-of-work car salesmen teaching these kids, they’re relentless. They got the hard-sell down, it’s all marketing all the time, kind of like a live infomercial or a union-o-thon.

Organizer: Sign the SEIU loyalty oath and I’ll give you a cookie.

Member: I don’t want to sign. My manager says, I will be laid off. Do you know if I will be laid off?

Organizer: No, but that’s why we need to be united and you need to sign the oath.

Member: Will signing save my job?

Organizer: That’s not my department, but that’s why you need to stand strong and united and sign. Hey, where are you going?

Member: I’m going to look for another job.

Organizer: Well if you’re going to look for new job anyway, how about signing?

Member: %&#@$@%^

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Where are we?

Well, well, well between the Measure “A” revenues and Wright Lassiter’s management team ACMC has enjoyed close to three years of blog free smooth sailing. This time was scarred by a Labor Day layoff, the Fairmont fiasco and a sudden outbreak of health which lowered the inpatient census and hospital revenues. With the fiscal budget year approaching, inpatient census still stagnant and the county of Alameda still ripping off revenue, times seem to be getting tough. Veteran ACMC employees have been here before and wait quietly for the signal to fight. Clearly the voting public of Alameda County supported Measure “A” for just this reason with a huge number of new clients who “used to have Kaiser” or “private insurance” this is not the time to make slash and burn cuts.

The voters of Alameda County agreed to tax themselves so that in the event that they “lost their Kaiser” due to economic changes they could get basic medical services. The economic downturn has given the medical center the opportunity to fulfill the campaign promises of Measure “A” and help those affected by the crisis. Unfortunately the Alameda County Board of Supervisors don’t agree they want the medical center to keep giving money to them (for new readers shortly after the citizens of Alameda County passed Measure “A” the county asserted that the medical center owed them millions and they expected to be paid). The county supervisors still haven’t found the IOU, but we haven’t checked Gail Steele’s knitting bag, Nate’s Miley’s stash drawer or Susan Muranishi’s push-up bra.

Maybe CEO Lassiter should call one of those debt consolidation companies and see if they could negotiate a better interest rate with Nate Miley or Keith Carson. Do the County Supervisors use the medical center for payroll advance? Maybe we could do some revolving credit deal with Susan Muranishi? We have bad debt, toxic assets we need a bailout. Come on Nate let’s negotiate; you know the public didn’t expect the medical center to give the Measure “A” revenue back to the county. It’s bait and switch. I know you county supervisors think the public are too dumb to figure out your scam but since Joe and Jane Public lost their jobs and their Kaiser they have lots more time to think about where their tax dollars really go.

According to the Alameda County Medical Center Statement of revenues and Expenses Report for November and December 2008, the county debt service was 1,250,000 dollars. While Measure “A” revenues plummet with the ailing economy the Measure “A” induced county debt stays the same.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

SEIU 1021 Toots Their Own Horn

SEIU 1021 updated their website with the Fairmont Hospital media coverage it's complete with movie clips. SEIU sources say executive heads are already rolling, but I've only heard rumors no official announcements or retirement parties.

Official SEIU 1021 site

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lost in the Vegetable Isle (the aging politics of Oakland)

Mom: Mommy, when you get older you and daddy are going to wear diapers.
Mom: Emma who told you that?
Emma: Marcos
Mommy: Really, Emma did Marcos tell you that you would have to change mommy’s diapers?

My daughter along with the rest of the county lives in willful denial of the huge care giving crisis moving toward them like a Tsunami toward a Cruz Ship. The boys at the East Bay Express and “Chip” Johnson (the San Francisco Chronicle’s affirmative action hire) have made great sport of Ms. Dellums constant presence and influence at Oakland’s City Hall. As a healthcare provider I feel the need to defend and clarify the increasing important role that caregivers have come to play in medicating, escorting, and bathing and moisturizing aging statesmen and politicians.

Jerry Brown, another aging politician also required a personal attendant at most; if not all times to insure that Mayor Moon Beam got to meetings, remembered memos and didn’t get lost between appointments. Jacques, Brown’s Boy Friday, was given a number of well paid positions at Oakland’s City Hall to justify and fund his constant presence as Brown’s personal attendant. Now, Jerry took a more alternative lifestyle approach to meeting his care needs: he surrounded himself with an entourage to assist him with everything from shopping to governing. The local men of the media have shown more tolerance toward Brown’s caregivers than they have to Ms. Dellums; perhaps because Brown tended to have male escorts and courtiers.

Like most men their age, our local journalists lack personal experience and professional understanding of care giving. Care giving remains a predominantly female chore, responsibility and profession and so it is sad but not shocking that “Chip” and the white boys at the Express remain ignorant of one of the fastest growing job markets in the country and unaware of the already dominant role that caregivers play in local and national politics. For the record caregivers keep our government going, aging politicians govern better if they take their medications, and have helpers who know their limitations and assist them to compensate. While Ms. Dellums meddling in Oakland’s affairs clearly vexes and frustrates our local media, medical professionals like myself find Attorney General Brown’s inability to find his way to meetings or even select his own vegetables without an attendant far more worrisome.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Excerpt from Nuclear Jelleyfish

But today pharmaceutical companies encourage us to whine like babies and take a bunch of pills that aren't supposed to be handled by woman who are preganant or may become pregant: My bad cholesterol's too high, my good cholesterol's too low, sometimes I'm sad, I pee a lot, I can't nod off, my legs are restless, my acid refluxes, diarrhea interupts my active lifestyle, uninvited relatives show up right after I've taken a pill to bang my wife.....

Tim Dorsey

Monday, April 13, 2009

There’s Bars on the Windows

Help, I’m trapped in a Zombie union and I can’t get out! While the Public Employee Relations Board (the PERB) has a team of lawyers working overtime insuring that no SEIU members get an opportunity to actually vote on choosing a different union, Andy and SEIU claim a robust victory for the democratic process. SEIU keeps saying, they did nothing wrong. If over fifty percent of your Kaiser represented members petitioned to leave, it stands to reason you made at least a couple of boo boos.

Here at Highland, SEIU 1021 gave us Ruben Garcia to negotiate our contract, nice guy but not a reader or a writer for that matter. After spending a month frustrating and frightening the negotiating team and making love to his I Phone; the team broke into outright revolt and demanded that SEIU provide the team with a real negotiator. Now, one would think after that kind of performance that Mr. Garcia would be quietly re-assigned to a more appropriate environment like Club Med or a Tiki Bar but no Ruben was then put in charge of the “field campaign.” After another month of failure and embarrassment Mr. Garcia was re-assigned yet a third time, this time as a labor representative to work on work-site problems. Now, that’s what I call executive leadership, a single employee demoralized the negotiating team, the workers at large and is now assisting management in firing union supporters in specific departments. SEIU members may not be employed long enough for the PERB to deny them a vote, Ruben’s on the job.

Way to go Andy with people like Ruben working for you, you may succeed in convincing one of the most pro-union hospitals in the country that they would be better off without a union. That might be the only way to make Ruben go away.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fairmont Skilled Nursing

Here's the Oakland Tribune piece on ACMC skilled nursing facility at Fairmont. I think this reporter, Chris Metinko, does good healthcare reporting.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Adios Andy Blog

Want the lastest on the statewide union war check out:
Adios Andy

Big Labor Barbie in the Shwag Wagon

Posted by Picasa


I’m “Andy” big labor’s tough new work action doll and work-site organizer. I come in five different ethnicities and three different sexual preferences. As part of the Change to Unite to Win Unity strategy I will be at every SEIU work-site and answering the phones at the call center. I look forward to servicing all your labor needs.

Your Plastic Labor Sister

Friday, April 03, 2009

Union Wars: 2009

The labor movement is engaged in an aggressive strategic military operation against itself, the war for workers (between NUHW and SEIU) keeps bubbling up into the mainstream media. This distresses and confuses liberals who wring their hands about the left’s circular firing squad and delights the right. Byzantine union bureaucracy stifles any real understanding or discussion about the roots of the dispute; and no sane news agency wants to spend the time and resources necessary to explain; much less understand the problem. Completely left out of the discussion, and increasingly at risk for injury due to friendly or unfriendly fire or simply collateral damage are the union members themselves. Their stories remain untold.

Union members at the Alameda County Medical Center stand before the rising tides of uninsured, violence in Oakland, decreased funding from the State, Measure “A” revenue rip-offs from the county and in between Andy Stern and Sal Roselli two warring union heavy weights. In the interest of full disclosure and in giving a name, a face and a voice to the dues paying masses; I offer myself as an embedded reporter and participant in, Union Wars 2009: Ground Zero Highland Hospital.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Randy Shaw

If anyone wants to understand organizing or how regular people can change the world they live in "The Activist Handbook" is a must read. The author, Randy Shaw, local genius and hero edits the Beyond Chron blog, he has written on the dispute between SEIU and NUHW. He also wrote a piece on the SEIU and CNA agreement. The face and mood of "big labor" will profoundly impact the shape of healthcare and healhtcare reform. If you want to unnderstand what happens next I'd keep reading Randy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Worker’s World: Sternlandia

Welcome to Worker’s World your new reorganized, pasteurized, homogenized, deskilled, retrained and reconstituted union. No, we don’t have anyone who can write a grievance or negotiate a contract; we replaced them with a call center. No, we don’t answer the phone, we just told you and we have a call center. No, we can’t help you keep your job our employees are too busy trying to keep their own jobs.

Here in Workers World we’re using your hard earned dues to invest in the future, it’s the new fresh young faces of SEIU, they wear tummy Ts, and they have piercings, the ooze enthusiasm and raw sexuality. Go team! Go union! These new “organizers” have enthusiasm of drunken soccer fans. Unfortunately, they have the intellectual capacity of rabbits and the manners of frat boys, but can they follow orders. So what, if dues paying members have to remind them not to interrupt while grown-ups are talking, these kids work hard, they work cheap and they don’t ask questions.

You see, the problem with the labor movement is all those whiney union members leaving all those negative messages like, my boss wants to fire me or my boss refused to pay me. Uncle Andy has National Agenda he can’t spend time and money on whiners, let them go to voice mail. At Worker’s World we say why have employees; when you can have a call center.

Sternlandia makes labor a real corporate player like McDonalds or Wal-Mart and they’ve learned from the corporate model, why invest in people when you can invest in plastic? SEIU is proud to say they have branded and distributed more purple and yellow plastic shwag than any other labor union. SEIU proudly leads the labor movement in plastic pollution. Don’t worry, Uncle Andy will not stop there, no sir? Next year CEO Stern has set bold and exciting corporate goals, watch out Mc Donald’s here comes SEIU. The Unity Meal: a bologna sandwich in a purple plastic bag with a yellow plastic folk served at a soup kitchen to former union members who lost their jobs because SEIU forgot to check their phone messages.