Any Opinions on CMS??

  1. I work as the Health Services Director for a 1070 bed county jail. All of the medical staff are full-time sheriff's office employees (we are all sworn deputy sheriff's). I have held this position for over 9 years now. Recently, the county commission has decided to look at ways to cut their ever increasing expenses and one of the things they are looking at are the medical expenses for prisoners.

    They have invited PHS and CMS to come in and look at our facility and give them a proposal. I know there is no way they can provide what we currently do for the amount of money we do it for but that's another story

    What I'm looking for is what have your experiences been if any working with this company. I know I won't have a job if either company is selected since I am management now, but I have some really good nurses that have worked with me for a long time that I sure would like to know would be treated fairly. Any input would be appreciated.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   GARYLPN
    CMS from what I've heard has a better reputation than PHS. I work for PHS now and they are ok to work for but not anything I'd brag about. They are in it for the profit. Period.

    I know CMS has a much better website than PHS and I know an RN who used to work with me with PHS who now works with CMS at another correctional facility and she likes CMS a lot better than PHS.

    I've also read some bad reviews about PHS on this forum. Check the one about PHS listed in the Correctional Nurses section.
  4. by   ragingmomster
    I have worked for CMS for almost 3 years now, staff and per diem, and would say they are not the best to work for. From what I hear PHS wants to keep their costs down by managing what they spend on their inmates, but CMS seems to want to keep their costs down by what they pay their employees. There is rarely a week that goes by when someone's check isn't majorly screwed up, and when the sherrif's department got mad at the nurses for smoking in the parking lot, they stopped allowing us to leave the facility and now we basically work 8 1/2 hours and only get paid for 8 because CMS won't fight for us or pay us. The staff is pretty good here and I have never thought that patient (inmate) care has been compromised because of cost containment. On the other hand, CMS never seems to care about their employees and keeping us happy. I had better quit now, I could go on tooooo long. The end of the story is, I still work for them.
  5. by   JedsMom
    Thanks for the input
  6. by   Rambo-ette
    A company is as good as its employees. I've worked for CMS for 7 years, starting as a staff nurse. I am now an administrator. As this business goes, CMS is one of the best companies that I have worked for. Many of the problems cited by ragingmonster are site problems, and these are usually under the direct control of the administrator. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.....there are good managers and bad managers in every company.
  7. by   ajsmomma
    On the other hand, CMS never seems to care about their employees and keeping us happy.ragingmomster

    Many of the problems cited by ragingmonster are site problems, and these are usually under the direct control of the administrator.Rambo-ette

    I have to agree with ragingmomster, I have worked for CMS for almost a year now, and they don't seem to care very much about their employees. If it is as Rambo-ette says, then I say CMS ought to look at who they are hiring in adminstrative roles. Our site has the highest turn-over rate of any place that I have worked at over the last 13 years. Even the CO's ask us why we stay and are always letting us know of other job openings. Let me also say that I have stayed because I love what I am doing, even if CMS doesn't care about me but how much money they can make from their employees. They won't pay you for full-time, midnights doesn't get but a half hour of holiday pay, benefits are awful, staff ratio's are a joke and administration doesn't want to hear any complaints or suggestions on how to make it a better place. Everyone that I work with is looking for another job. We have all said, if CMS would just work with us and make some minor changes, we would all stay. We like the place and the people we work with, just not the company.

    What does CMS stand for?? Chaos, Misery and Suffering!
  8. by   ragingmomster
    Well Rambo-ette, I would love to believe that the problems at our site are all from locale administration, but I've outlasted 4 administrators and have seen the same problems with all of them. We are told that the problems stem from corporate and the lies just keep coming.

    They offered us a $200 per shift bonus to work 11-7 alone because staffing is so poor and when we picked one up, we never saw the bonus. "OH, corporate put it in under the wrong kind of bonus, It will be delivered quarterly" UH-UH!!!! My response was it will be delivered NOW! because our state Labor Board gives employers, regardless of where their corporate HQ is, 72 hours to repair problems with employee checks.

    I know, because the DON told me, that the administrator makes a bonus for keeping costs down. HMMMM???? Now maybe I understand why our checks have problems.
  9. by   northernstate
    I have worked for CMS for almost 3 years now. Can't say that I'm happy with them at all. They are in it for the money only, and cost cut far to much. They care nothing about the staff and our requests for more staff. Having 2 nurses for 430 inmates is insane.! Our inmate population is 80 over cap and 130 over what we are matrixed for with CMS. At last check, 70% were on meds which makes for a horrendous medline. Our infirmary is full, plus a cot added for another. It's never ending. CMS does not listen to us when we ask for more help, they don't care..

    So , I guess you can say we do not like them because our requests fall upon deaf ears.
  10. by   GARYLPN
    Sounds pretty overlwhelming northernstate.
    I work for PHS and they are more than likely about the same as CMS. I think probably most correctional nursing companies are out for the bottom line - money and profit.

    We have a lot of nurses at the prison I work at but they come and go a lot also. We have a huge turnover rate with only about 7 nurses out of about 35 who have been there for any amount of time.

    I've seen many times where I was the only nurse in the infirmary with 17-20 patients which can be hairy depending on patient conditions.

    How does CMS pay? In western maryland for LPNs we make $16 an hour day shift, $17 evening, and $17.50 for nights. I think RNs make about $23 or $24 an hour. These are wages with no benefits. I work per diem. The full time LPNs with benefits make about $14 an hour and less than $23 for RNs.
  11. by   northernstate
    Hi Gary,

    Yes it can get very crazy at times there. Thanks for your input.

    In answer to your questions, Fulltime LPN's make 19.00 per hour, RN's 23.00. (I think) Graveyard shift differential is $5.00 per hour. 2nd shift is 2.00 per hour more (I think) I work days but stay over alot due to the workload. It gets impossible sometimes dealing with all that stress, but I manage well under those conditions. lol Wouldn't trade it for anything.

    As far as per diems, well...they pretty much don't exist. On the off-chance that we can get a per diem to even come in and apply, they usually don't stay. In fact, I think we have one per diem on our list. This makes for alot of OT pay and long hours. Mostly 12 hour shifts to cover open spots.

    I can't remember the last time anyone has applied to work at the prison. It's been that long! One of the problems is that home health is paying 22.00 per hour for LPN's and 30.00 for Rn's. They also offer better hours. We can't compete with that. The local hospital also pays more than what we get. Sooo it seems as though no one will be banging down our doors looking for work. If we are to stay competitive in this market, we should be able to at least match the wages in our surrounding area or we will continue to work under these conditions.

    We are quite isolated where we are, just 5 miles south of Canada. Canadian nurses can work here but the process they must go through is very time consuming and usually just puts any potential new employees off. So now we have stopped advertising in Canada.

    About benefits, the above quoted prices are with Benefits. Can't complain there, I have an excellent medical plan, prescription plan etc. Also about 5 weeks paid time off per year (PTO). I amstill trying to use the rest of my PTO so I don't lose it.

    I'm surprised at the $14.00 per hour for LPN's. You really should try and get a raise out of PHS. RN's as well. Nurses have been underpaid for to long considering all they have to lay on the line everyday. Somebody is making money, but it sure isn't us.

    Thanks for hearing me out.
  12. by   cardiacnrs
    I worked for CMS for three years in Wy and pay was great, staffing was not much of an issue and benefits were comparable.
    However, when I transferred down to Texas, I took a 4 dollar and hour pay cut, staffing was, well, ok I guess not great by any means.
    I would have to say that it is site specific. We did not have the problems in Wy that we had in Tx. In Tx the benefits sucked and the pay did as well. The DON was never there, nor was the administrator and CMS allowed that as they were salaried employees.
    In Wyoming we were provided a townhouse for those of us who traveled to get to work and we provided the necessities and paid 10.00 a month to stay there. (Toilet paper and cleaning supplies)
    I traveled 125 miles one way and so did quite a few others who worked at the pen. If the weather was bad it kept us from having to spend money on a hotel if we could not make it home. Worked out for them as they had staff who would come and work for a 3-4 day stretch and then take the same off. we rotated schedules and rarely had to cover someone elses shift.
  13. by   erroridiot
    Originally posted by northernstate
    I have worked for CMS for almost 3 years now. Can't say that I'm happy with them at all. They are in it for the money only, and cost cut far to much. They care nothing about the staff and our requests for more staff. Having 2 nurses for 430 inmates is insane.! Our inmate population is 80 over cap and 130 over what we are matrixed for with CMS. At last check, 70% were on meds which makes for a horrendous medline. Our infirmary is full, plus a cot added for another. It's never ending. CMS does not listen to us when we ask for more help, they don't care..

    So , I guess you can say we do not like them because our requests fall upon deaf ears.
    Your staffing seems very generous. Are there any openings at your site?

    How about 1. 2 or 3 (max) nurses for 1500 inmates at a site??

    I have worked at non-CMS prisons with 1 nurse for 1400 (covering 2 prisons as the sole nurse) and passing meds for 800 to 1000. This includes insulin for 90 inmates, heavy psychotropics, high risk obstetrics, overdoses. suicide attempts, asthmatics, cardiac cases, peritoneal dialysis and brittle diabetics. I once sent out 5 ambulances within an hour. Whoops, I forgot the fights, assaults, and work accidents such as hands stuck in the industrial size mixer and cleaning solution in the eyes.
  14. by   Trixxy
    I decided I should just keep my opinion about CMS to myself, so I deleted my original post.
    Last edit by Trixxy on Dec 23, '03

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