Shock, NOT: Tenet to sell or shut hospitals and cut jobs

  1. new york times, march 19, 2003

    tenet healthcare corp. says it will sell, close or shrink 14 of its 114 hospitals and cut jobs and expenses to help cope with an expected decline in payments received from medicare.

    ...in california, where tenet has 40 hospitals, it will close only one, santa ana hospital in orange county, because the landlord wants to sell the property. but it plans to sell all four of its hospitals in arkansas and its one hospital in nevada. other hospitals to be sold are in florida, missouri, pennsylvania, tennessee and texas....
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/19/business/19care.html

    phila. pa: tenet to sell or consolidate 2 local hospitals
    by josh goldstein
    inquirer staff writer
    posted on tue, mar. 18, 2003

    tenet healthcare corp. of santa barbara, calif., announced yesterday that it would sell or otherwise divest two struggling area hospitals - elkins park hospital and parkview hospital - as part of a companywide cost-cutting effort....

    ...implement a new consolidated nurse agency contracting program aimed at leveraging tenet's size to lower labor costs....
    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/business/5424374.htm

    tenn: tenet puts 14 hospitals on the market
    http://www.tennessean.com/business/a...nt_id=30387225
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    These crooks outa be in jail also.
  4. by   -jt
    <In addition, the company said it would cut costs in several other areas:
    Implement a new consolidated nurse agency contracting program aimed at leveraging Tenet's size to lower labor costs....>


    Its not too hard to read between those lines. Not too long ago, whole hospital corporations in entire areas blindsided the nursing agencies by standing united in lowering the amounts they would pay RN agencies and some even formed their own in-house "agencies". Kill the competition & try to reduce the nurses employment options so she is forced to come back on staff, rather than the hospital making the workplace improvements that would attract RNs back to staff jobs.

    Hospitals stood united and made a deal with each other not to pay above a certain rate for outside agency. Since they locked up entire areas, if the agency wanted work at any of their facilities, it would just have to put up with being held hostage like this. Agency RN pay was cut by as much as $13/hr in some cities. The agency still got close to what it was getting - the cut was passed onto the RN and taken from her salary.

    The hospitals strategy was called a new "consolidated nurse agency contracting program" and all it does is lower RNs wages in an entire area - and not just for agency RN wages either. The hospitals doing this seem to be thinking that if they can make it so the RN who is working for higher wages but no benefits now with an agency suddenly cant get those higher wages either, they will come back to staff for the same low wages WITH benefits, regardless of the working conditions. The agencies will be out of business or not being used very much, and the hospitals short staffing problem will be solved the cheap way. Supposedly.

    But what makes the hospitals think that we only have a choice of either agency or staff in the first place? If the staff job is unacceptable and nurses cant get what they need from working agency, theyll just quit bedside altogether and go find another way to make a living.
    Last edit by -jt on Mar 20, '03
  5. by   -jt
    <Tenet Healthcare Corp. says it will sell, close or shrink 14 of its 114 hospitals and cut jobs and expenses to help cope with an expected decline in payments received from Medicare. >

    and from being caught in massive medicare insurance fraud - bilking millions of $$$ that they now have to pay back.
  6. by   NICURNtobe
    I work in one of the hospitals to be sold - No one is happy. We have fantastic benefits, are treated extremely fairly and have low turnover.
  7. by   sjoe
    "Hospitals stood united and made a deal with each other not to pay above a certain rate for outside agency."

    This and other examples are simply criminal restraints of trade and unlawful business practices. Where are the state attorney's general? (Guess who helped them get elected?)
  8. by   -jt
    <This and other examples are simply criminal restraints of trade and unlawful business practices.>

    In some of those states, the nursing agencies were pursuing anti-trust lawsuits. Havent heard anything more about that.
  9. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=2670210
    Tenet nurses seek union election at 7 hospitals
    Thu May 1, 2003 06:45 PM ET
    NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - Registered nurses at seven Tenet Healthcare Corp. THC.N hospitals in the Los Angeles area will petition the federal labor board for an election for union representation,
    the California Nurses Association (CNA) said on Thursday.

    The National Labor Relations Board would conduct the secret ballot for 1,500 registered nurses within six weeks, said the union, which rpreseents nurses at five other Tenet hospitals and 50,000
    statewide.

    Tenet, the second largest U.S. hospital operator, declined to comment about the matter.

    Tenet and the CNA have had a public relations battle in recent months over staffing levels and working conditions. CNA and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest hospital
    employee union, have also been competing against one another for support of nurses.

    Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Daniel Freeman-Marina Hospital in Marina del Rey, Los Alamitos Medical Center, Mission Hospital and
    Community Hospital of Huntington Park, and Suburban Medical Center in Paramount are the hospitals covered by the petitions for the elections, CNA said.

    In addition to the seven hospitals CNA filed, registered nurses at more than a dozen other Tenet facilities have also been in discussions with the CNA, the union said.
  10. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.calnurse.org/cna/press/5203.html
    Calif. Nurses Assn. to Challenge 'Illegal' Tenet-SEIU Deal as Attempt to
    Deny Employees Choice that Could Harm Patients

    The California Nurses Association (CNA) today said it will challenge the "illegal, fraudulent" deal
    announced today by Tenet Healthcare and the Service Employees Intl. Union (SEIU) as an attempt
    to bribe Tenet employees, deny them a choice on who should represent them, and a potential harm
    to patients.

    On Thursday, Registered Nurses at seven Tenet hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange County
    petitioned the federal labor board for a secret ballot, federally supervised representation election to
    join CNA. That process, which provides RNs at those hospitals with a genuine democratic choice
    and allows other unions to participate, supersedes the Tenet-SEIU pact and will proceed.
    "Free elections should be a model for Tenet RNs and all Tenet employees. In the United States
    employees still get to choose their union and should not have the company choose it for them," said
    CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro today.

    Under the Tenet and SEIU pact, Tenet employees would be handed to SEIU throughout California,
    except in Orange and San Diego counties where they would be given to the American Federation of
    State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Tenet employees will then receive pay
    increases and other contract benefits - but only if they join SEIU or AFSCME.

    "It's outrageous that non-union Tenet RNs and other employees, who are far behind the economic
    standards of other hospital workers, especially RNs represented by CNA in 150 facilities across
    California, would be compelled to join a union anointed by Tenet to qualify for pay increases,"
    DeMoro said.

    "Tenet should immediately provide the pay increases and any other improvements promised in this
    back room deal to its deserving employees - without conditions, and without denying their
    democratic rights to freely select a union of their choice," DeMoro added.

    Instead, Tenet employees would be locked into a long term agreement with the main terms decided
    in advance in closed door meetings with top managements of Tenet and SEIU.

    Further there are no indications that Tenet RNs, in particular, will be permitted to continue to
    exercise their patient advocacy obligations and be able to freely protect their patients. In the Kaiser
    Permanente deal with SEIU and AFSCME, which SEIU cites as a model in its press release, those
    unions agreed to silence on hospital closures or any business decisions that compromise patient
    care, and SEIU co-wrote harmful programs such as bonuses for telephone advice clerks who limit
    patient referrals to physicians.

    Ralph Nader today joined CNA in questioning the impact of the agreement on patients.

    "Tenet is notorious for its commitment to profits regardless of the consequences for the public's well
    being," said Nader. "As has already occurred with other arrangements, SEIU's back room deal
    degrades the independent professional responsibility of nurses for patient care protection."

    CNA said today that it will file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and is considering
    other legal actions against the pact. Several provisions of the deal are illegal including:

    Forcing employees to join SEIU/AFSCME as a condition for receiving pay and benefit
    increases.
    Bribing employees with the promise of increased pay solely based on joining SEIU/AFSCME.
    Selecting for employees what union they have to join, and granting exclusive favors to that
    union.

    For Tenet, said DeMoro, "this appears to be a short term public relations strategy designed to drive
    up their stock prices with the supposed promise of 'labor peace'. Perhaps they are guided by
    illusions of hefty profit taking for top executives who have seen their stock portfolios plummet in
    recent months due to numerous federal and state investigations into Tenet's billing practices and
    patient care conditions."

    "But it will be a failed strategy," DeMoro continued. "If Tenet is doing this for investor security,
    investors should feel anything but secure."

    "By signing this agreement with SEIU, Tenet is presumably hoping to buy SEIU's influence with
    state and national lawmakers, just as SEIU routinely lobbies for Kaiser Permanente. They hope to
    silence the voice of those legislators and investigators at the very moment that billions of dollars in
    claims actions are pending.

    "We are confident," said DeMoro, "that the legislators will join with us in saying that patients, the
    public interest, and Tenet RNs and other employees are not for sale."

    CNA is the largest, independent RN organization in the U.S. representing 50,000 RNs, including
    more than 1,500 Tenet RNs at five hospitals.

    In its petitions Thursday, CNA is seeking to represent another 1,500 RNs at Brotman Medical Center
    in Culver City, Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood, Daniel Freeman-Marina Hospital in
    Marina del Rey, Los Alamitos Medical Center, Mission Hospital and Community Hospital of
    Huntington Park, and Suburban Medical Center in Paramount.

    More information about CNA, Tenet, and SEIU is available on the CNA website www.calnurse.org
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Tenet, nurses' union reach agreement
    Friday, May 2

    Palm Beach Post Staff Report

    WEST PALM BEACH - After years of bitter squabbling, Tenet Healthcare
    Corp. has reached a national labor agreement with its major nurses' unions
    that includes pay raises of up to 29 percent over the next four years.

    About 609 registered nurses and 670 other employees at St. Mary's Medical
    Center in West Palm Beach are covered by the deal. St. Mary's is the only
    unionized hospital in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

    The nurses' union at St. Mary's had filed an unfair labor practice charge
    against the hospital a year ago, after the hospital imposed new wage and
    benefits without its consent. The agreement settles that dispute, a Tenet
    spokeswoman said.

    The agreement covers workers represented by the Service Employees
    International Union, which represents workers at St. Mary's, and the
    American Federaton of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees.

    Tenet has been under constant attack from the nurses' unions which have
    claimed the company's hospitals have too few nurses and require employees
    to operate in difficult working conditions. Tenet struck the deal while under
    investigation for overbilling Medicare; its stock has plunged 70 percent in the
    past year.
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    If you read back a couple years ago you will find posts praising my hospital/ Now it is owened by Tenet, I work registry. These articles tell part of why:
    http://www.msnbc.com/news/901999.asp?0cv=BB10&cp1=1
    http://www.kpmginsiders.com/display_...sp?cs_id=62668
    Tenet Suit Takes Aim at Dissident Shareholder


    NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) - Tenet Healthcare
    Corp. said on Friday it was suing a dissident
    shareholder, alleging he made false statements that hurt the company's share
    price.

    Tenet, whose Medicare billing practices are under federal investigation, filed suit
    late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against Dr. Lee Pearce and a
    dissident group called the "Tenet Shareholder Committee."
    -----------------------
    http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/n...ty/5538964.htm

    Posted on Wed, Apr. 02, 2003



    County severs ties with Tenet
    By Peter Felsenfeld
    CONTRA COSTA TIMES

    Alleging unfair billing practices, Contra Costa supervisors Tuesday terminated the county's contract with
    beleaguered Tenet Healthcare in a move they expect will save $1 million a year.

    The national hospital chain provides services to members of the county-run health plan at Doctors Medical Center
    San Pablo, formerly Brookside Hospital.

    County health officials told supervisors that plan participants will still be able to use the hospital and receive the
    same level of care. Tenet officials contend that fewer West County members will be seen at the facility.

    Contra Costa had become victim of Tenet's widely publicized billing excesses, said county health director Dr.
    William Walker. He called Tenet's rates exorbitant compared to the other six hospitals that Contra Costa contracts
    with.

    "We will not tolerate this type of gouging," said Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. "That's exactly what this
    is."

    Santa Barbara-based Tenet is the subject of federal investigations nationwide over a variety of issues, including
    accusations of Medicare billing abuses, unnecessary heart procedures and illegal incentives given to doctors for
    referring patients to Tenet hospitals.

    Gary Sloan, CEO of Doctors Medical Center, said Contra Costa officials were taking advantage of Tenet's
    problems to besmirch the hospital for financial gain.

    He predicted health plan officials would send some West County patients to other areas, sometimes outside the
    county, for treatment, Sloan said. "I'm concerned about where our patients, many of whom are poor and cannot
    afford transportation, will get their treatment."

    Not so, said health plan CEO Milt Camhi. About two-thirds of the 60,000 participants in the Contra Costa Health
    Plan are on Medi-Cal, he said. The county can send those patients to the center at a rate determined by the
    state's Medical Assistance Commission. That amount is lower than what Tenet has been charging, Camhi said.

    The county can also send non-Medi-Cal patients to the center, but the plan will be charged the full cost for
    services. Continuation of the contract would have allowed the county to receive a discounted rate for those
    patients.

    "So we pay a little less for the Medi-Cal and a little more for the commercial clients," Camhi said. "At the end of
    the day, the county comes out ahead."

    The contract negotiations stalled over a Tenet policy that forces providers to pay the full price for services above
    a certain dollar amount, Walker said. The controversial provision is called "stop loss."

    "Stop loss is supposed to be for catastrophic cases," Walker said. "But we see a majority of our cases meeting the
    threshold. That's what happens when Tenet increases their rates so dramatically."

    Sloan said the hospital offered to compromise on the provision, but the county would not listen.

    "It's disturbing that the county is taking this opportunity to fix its budget problems on the backs of our hospital and
    our patients," he said.


    Peter Felsenfeld covers Contra Costa County. Reach him at 925-977-8506 or pfelsenfeld@cctimes.com.
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    Anyone remember the recent 60 minutes about the unnecessary open heart surgeries at a Tenet Facility in Redding, California?
    Then ALLNURSES.com had a newspaper article posted with a photo inside that hospital with an ENORMOUS banner, "We support our doctors"

    No "Sorry" from Tenet:
    Published on Sunday, May 4, 2003 by Reuters
    Critics Want More Corporate Remorse
    by Chris Sanders

    NEW YORK - When it comes to showing remorse for past misdeeds, critics say corporate America just doesn't get
    it.

    Whether it is allegations of biased research on Wall Street firms or rich pay packages for executives at corporations
    in financial trouble, many U.S. companies are on the defensive.

    Critics say corporate America has not learned its lessons, and that many top executives are still acting as if it were
    business as usual.

    "The most charitable way to look at these things is as examples of having a tin ear," said Henry Hu, corporate and
    securities law professor at the University of Texas. "But I worry that these senior executives really haven't come to
    terms with the fact that there were some real fundamental problems."

    After Wall Street brokerages reached a $1.4 billion settlement with regulators this week, the head of investment bank
    Morgan Stanley made public comments denying the pact raised any concerns for retail investors.

    The remarks from Morgan Stanley CEO Philip Purcell drew a rebuke from SEC Chairman William Donaldson, who
    warned Purcell that his words reflected a "troubling lack of contrition."

    "It seems there just isn't a grasp of the gravity of what's going on," a regulator at the Securities and Exchange
    Commission, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

    Wall Street executives are not alone in drawing criticism. Some high-powered executives are either overcome by
    hubris, greed or perhaps ignorance about the extent of investor anger, critics say.

    American Airlines, a division of AMR Corp., ousted Chief Executive Don Carty in April after an employee rebellion over
    his failure to disclose a multimillion dollar pay package for senior executives approved while the airline fought off
    bankruptcy. The largest U.S. airline had been also begging unions to approve huge pay cuts as it tried to slash costs.

    John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group mutual fund giant, said Carty's actions reflect the "I" society.

    "The moral standard is that if everyone else is doing it, and getting it, then I can get it too," Bogle said.

    WALL STREET SETTLEMENT

    Critics say executives involved in the Wall Street settlement, such as Purcell, need to watch their public statements
    more carefully.

    "It would be hard to stare a $1.4 billion settlement in the face and not, at least, appreciate the problem," said Donald
    Langevoort, professor of law at Georgetown University.

    Shareholder activist Herbert Denton, president of investment firm Providence Capital Inc. in New York, said, "Perhaps
    it was hubris. It's the only way you can look at it."

    Purcell isn't the only Wall Street executive to come under fire for remarks questioning the settlement. Recently,
    Merrill Lynch & Co Inc. Chief Executive Stan O'Neal wrote in an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal that the
    settlement was an effort to eliminate risk from the marketplace and that "if we attempt to eliminate risk -- to legislate,
    regulate or litigate it out of existence -- the ultimate result will be economic stagnation."

    O'Neal's article was scorned by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose investigations, along with those of
    federal regulators, led to the settlement.

    Without naming O'Neal, Spitzer told a press conference; "So, Mr. CEO, and I read your article carefully, if I were you
    I would reflect. What your company did, and what we have alleged about your company, is that you committed fraud."

    Spitzer on Friday signaled that criminal charges against individuals could be on the way. "Just wait," Spitzer said in
    an online forum held on the Washington Post's Web site. "The criminal actions may come in the future and the
    number of prosecutors around the nation who are looking at possible prosecutions is significant."

    Critics also accuse New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso of bad judgment for attempting to put
    Citigroup chief executive Sandy Weill on the exchange's board at the same time Citigroup was being investigated in
    Spitzer's research probe.

    Some boards of directors, possibly recognizing the dangers of old practices, have been reining in their executives.

    "Boards are much more sensitive to it now than in the past," Denton said. "They have learned that if they don't
    change, they will pay with their heads."

    But Lawrence White, an economics professor at New York University, said little has changed other than "greater lip
    service" to reform. "I fear this may not last because I don't see a lot of structural changes," he said.

    Reuters Limited 2003

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