Why all the private company bashing?

  1. A question for correctional nurses out there? Why am I reading so many posts that bash the private companies in correctional health? I have worked for a private co for 6 years and I love it.
    There are ups and downs, of course, as with any job. In order to stay with a private company, if they lose a contract, you have to be willing to relocate to an area that they still have contract in. I know that this is hard for most people, I'm just lucky that my kids are grown and I don't have any baggage.
    On the other hand, Private companies do not approach the states and counties that hire them; they only receive contracts when a state/county client decides to put it out for bid because they dont want to run the medical end anymore. Then, the contracts are awarded to the lowest qualified bidders. often companies have to bid low in order to compete with the other bidders. Private companies usually maintain accreditation just like the states/counties do, and they are very professional and concerned about the care given in thier name. Unfortunately, they don't have never ending wells of money like hospitals, which pass on increased costs to their patients. Most contracts are for fixed amounts of money over time. We can't pass the cost of pay raises to the inmates.
    The nursing shortage is everywhere, and affects everyone of us, including the private companies, agencies, state, local facilities.
    The negative press given private companies may be discouraging to those fine nurses who wish to work in this field, and I feel that the bashing is definitely unfair. A company is only as good as its employees. Lets lay the blame for poor care or management on those poor caregivers and managers who work for the company, state, or facility. I am reading agency nurses complaining about private companies, while they themselves work for a private company (the agency)! Lets agree that we all work in corrections because we want to.
    Thanks for reading this.
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    "A company is only as good as its employees. Lets lay the blame for poor care or management on those poor caregivers and managers who work for the company, state, or facility."

    Interesting to learn from you that the CEO, board of directors, and other honchos of private corporations have nothing to do with the "goodness" of a company. Why are they then being paid? Isn't it all but obvious (Enron, etc. etc.) that policy makers can and do corrupt companies, despite the very best efforts of lower-level managers and front-line workers?

    And, or course, the converse is often true as well, but when workers ARE the problem, then this is clearly a management/leadership problem. (You might enjoy Joan Magretta's book "What Management Is" for a more detailed description of management's role.)

    But to come back to your initial question, one of the reasons that private correctional companies sometimes (not always) get bad raps is that when they win a contract and take over from, say, a county sheriff's department to run a jail, salaries are often cut, benefits lost, staffing decreased, seniority lost. Of course nurses are going to gripe about that, particularly if they were previously civil service employees. (Whether these employees "deserved" their previous benefits and salaries is another question entirely, but this is the main reason I have heard gripes.)

    (I'll not go into the numerous problems already well covered by newspapers over the past few years in terms of escapes, allegations of brutality, cost overruns, etc., since I've not heard many nurses gripe about these items.)
    Last edit by sjoe on Dec 8, '02
  4. by   graybar hilton
    This is my first post and I am thrilled that there are so many Correctional Nurses on line. I work in the managment end (DON)and have been in corrections 5 yrs. I have literally tried every area of the field and Corrections is the place for me. I love it.
    Inmates are inmates but it is fun to get around them when they think they have the upper hand.
    Currently I am fulfilling hours for DON at a Max Facility. My first "trip" to a Max and I really like it.
    My vendor has treated me very well. They are concerned about giving timely and appropriate Health Care to the inmate population. They are just like every other for profit organization, out to make a buck. I am paid very very well. The pay for corrections in my state is higher than most hospitals, the line staff are Unionized.
    I will look forward to reading posts from as many as will respond.
  5. by   Rambo-ette
    "Isn't it all but obvious (Enron, etc. etc.) that policy makers can and do corrupt companies, despite the very best efforts of lower-level managers and front-line workers? "
    Sjoe you're absolutely correct in stating that often CEO's etc of companies can be at the root of problems , but who becomes these CEO's? WE DO. Unfortunately, there are corrupt sheriff's departments, state reps, company presidents everywhere. If a lower level manager can effect change, why not do so? All of us work in order to make money, including the company. Is there a problem with making a profit? Isn't this America? I dont mean that we should place profit before our responsibility to provide good health care, but lets face it folks, if we didn't get paid, we wouldn't be working (at least unless we're very rich!) As for the loss of benefits, etc., don't you think that the sheriff's depts (just using them as an example) is aware of what will happen when they decide to bid out their medical care?

    You stated: "Interesting to learn from you that the CEO, board of directors, and other honchos of private corporations have nothing to do with the "goodness" of a company. "
    THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!!! Please don't misquote me. No company is perfect, but not all are as awful as has been portrayed. Yes, there are reports of inadequate care, neglect, etc., and yes, there are abuses out there, but, Call me Pollyanna, I feel that these are not reflective of the entire industry.
    By the way, states and counties are even farming out the Business of running the jails and prisons to private companies---why?? To save money.
    Thanks for your opinion. I have worked very hard in my facilities to counter the negative feelings about "contract medical" by providing a high level of professionality in my medical departments. It's good to hear exactly what people are thinking that causes these negative opinions. I have my work cut out for me, I guess.
  6. by   sjoe
    "who becomes these CEO's? WE DO"

    Oh is that right? Just how many CEOs have "worked their way up" from being staff nurses? Name just ONE large company where this is true.

    "You stated: "Interesting to learn from you that the CEO, board of directors, and other honchos of private corporations have nothing to do with the "goodness" of a company. "
    THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!!! Please don't misquote me."

    On the contrary it is EXACTLY what you said, as I previously quoted:

    "A company is only as good as its employees. Lets lay the blame for poor care or management on those poor caregivers and managers who work for the company, state, or facility."

    But enough of this pointless discussion. If you're going to contradict yourself and then try to get me into an argument about it, I've got other things to do.

    In the meanwhile, welcome to my ignore list.

    Best wishes.
    Last edit by sjoe on Feb 14, '03
  7. by   Rambo-ette
    Thank you for your opinions.
  8. by   probable cause
    sjoe knows everything, just ask him.
  9. by   Nurse Ratched
    Let's keep it nice, probable cause. Thank you!
  10. by   susan18
    Quote from sjoe
    "A company is only as good as its employees. Lets lay the blame for poor care or management on those poor caregivers and managers who work for the company, state, or facility."

    Interesting to learn from you that the CEO, board of directors, and other honchos of private corporations have nothing to do with the "goodness" of a company. Why are they then being paid? Isn't it all but obvious (Enron, etc. etc.) that policy makers can and do corrupt companies, despite the very best efforts of lower-level managers and front-line workers?

    And, or course, the converse is often true as well, but when workers ARE the problem, then this is clearly a management/leadership problem. (You might enjoy Joan Magretta's book "What Management Is" for a more detailed description of management's role.)

    But to come back to your initial question, one of the reasons that private correctional companies sometimes (not always) get bad raps is that when they win a contract and take over from, say, a county sheriff's department to run a jail, salaries are often cut, benefits lost, staffing decreased, seniority lost. Of course nurses are going to gripe about that, particularly if they were previously civil service employees. (Whether these employees "deserved" their previous benefits and salaries is another question entirely, but this is the main reason I have heard gripes.)

    (I'll not go into the numerous problems already well covered by newspapers over the past few years in terms of escapes, allegations of brutality, cost overruns, etc., since I've not heard many nurses gripe about these items.)
    I agree completely with sjoe...our state facility works all the time to do things as best and as cost-effective as possible so as to avoid privatization, which we DO NO WANT for all the reasons above. We have a wonderful DON who is a visionary, and sees the danger of privatization in corrections. susan18
  11. by   fiestynurse
    sjoe - Prison Health Services was founded by 2 nurses 25 years ago and has nurses all the way up the ranks. Didn't an RFP just go out for San Diego County Jail?

Must Read Topics


close