Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Irony....

If you caught 60 minutes Sunday, one of the segments mentioned that Gen. Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan was told that bin Laden was located near a town that turned out to be 12 miles from his compound. This would have taken place prior to his visit and check-up with Dr. A.J. Hashmi at PRMC. You wonder if his “meeting an old friend” would have brought that up.

A.J.'s recent venture into politics in Paris is noteable for at least one thing: When was the last time a cardiologist made housecalls???

Apparently there is to be a runoff, wonder if the General could drop in and lend support for his bff???

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


What is the definition of Irony? When an "Account Dispute Resolution Expert" has to sue a client to collect.

More irony: The court disqualified the expert witnesses from Managed Care Solutions from testifying.

The final bit provided: Emails were destroyed 'per Essent's corporate policy' after they were enjoined from doing so...something like information that was sought by Essent in the case against Blogger 1-10.

Monday, December 13, 2010


BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Steward Health Care LLC (Steward) announced an agreement to acquire Essent Healthcare’s Merrimack Valley Hospital (MVH) and Nashoba Valley Medical Center (NVMC). The agreement calls for the assets of MVH and NVMC to be acquired by Steward Health Care to expand its community-based accountable care organization.
So, it would appear that Essent is divesting itself from the losing propositions. That leaves, what, three? Is that enough to have a building, a suite of offices, or a closet for a headquarters?

So with less going out, does that mean that there are new investments to be made in existing facilities, or are we back to buying?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Is it Fall Yet?....2/16

The Nashville Post received a press release from Essent last year---almost a year ago---foretelling two events:

Essent consolidates Texas hospital campus
By Erin Lawley

Posted on November 24, 2009 at 8:10 am
Essent Healthcare will consolidate the acute-care services of Paris Regional Medical Center in Paris, Texas into a single campus by next fall. The move is designed to improve access for patients, strengthen the quality of care and provide for better coordinated services. Essent owns five hospitals and is in the process of acquiring its sixth.
Soooo, which proved to be true? Both? One? or, none (right answer)! So, does that mean that the access is poor, the quality of care needs strengthening, and the services are un-coordinated?

Hmmm.... I did say that it was a year ago, didn't I?

I wonder if that press release was from the same person that said Dux was leaving immediately, er ah, I mean, by October 1st. Probably going to announce that fall has been delayed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Making Like a Tree....2/16

Funny, as it was pointed out to me numerous times, how one day the Duck is being 'frog marched' to the door, with Essent saying the coup d'├ętat was now...and the next day, he has a month to pack his pencils....


To ensure a smooth transition of the hospital’s leadership, Dux will remain at PRMC until Oct. 1. At that time, current chief operating officer Bill Porter will assume the position of interim CEO.
...and then....

“He is telling his employees now,” Fox told The Paris News shortly before 10 a.m. today.

Bill Porter, PRMC’s current chief operating officer, will begin serving as interim CEO immediately.
Whoever writes the releases ought to learn the meaning and value of consistency.... Of course we hicks can't remember one day to the next, so why bother???
My question would be: Why, with all that time and effort to build a reputation in health care would a CEO of a hospital bail? ...and for an undisclosed endeavor???

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cleaning Up??....9/6

A different perspective:

You have to wonder what is going on. Apparently they are cleaning the place up in Paris (the fountain even works!), over-staffing in non-critical areas (2 nurses for 3 patients in some areas) and even Ducks and the Connster were seen roaming the halls "inspecting" everything this last week. Looks a whole lot like a potential buyer is looking to view the place or else they are expecting a "surprise" inspection from a state agency.
I think I would go with the former.
Cleaning up, or ride-sharing....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No News is Good News....7/4

Is Essent for sale? Maybe pieces of it. The Lowell Sun's article left a bit to interpretation. "...possible joint purchase (of the hospital) of some kind." could mean anything, including a management deal, or a trade out for the newly acquired facilities. But wasn't the one facility pledged on that loan????

Since the fall through of the Brown deal (number 4, wasn't it?), Essent's stock is probably at a new low--or would be if it was a publicly traded company. A pay
freeze for the third year doesn't indicate any good news, as well.

Time to use the motivational fairy....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sorry Charlie....7/4

Looks like Brown County General dodged the bullet...grapevine (rumours, not the town) has it that more guarantees were needed--by which party? Who knows.

But, that makes how many misses for Essent? There probably are only just so many fish in the sea. Ahh yes, but who's counting.... Just you...and me...and Charlie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It Keeps On Rolling....5/28

Been over to the ER lately? Recognize the staff? If you do, you're lucky, since the majority are temp service/agency nurses.

What's the harm, it infuses the hospital with new people??? Yeah, but when the location of the simplest things takes a question, and it pulls another nurse away from patients.....

But we can see if we like a nurse's work before we offer them a postion.... How many actually take an offer from here?

You really can't fault the nurses--the ones we had have a good chance of being agency in another hospital....

No truer words have been spoken than: Familiarity breeds contempt.

Friday, March 19, 2010

CHS has their problems

I probably wouldn't have even mentioned it, but a memo was passed my way. Remember Bill Heburn? He was involved with the purchase of PRMC, I believe. He was bounced from Essent when he developed a case of foot-in-mouth disease, and mentioned that Crossroads, their hospital in MO, had only been profitable for one year in five. Huddie didn't like that after I kind of mentioned it (and at least two selection committees should have taken notice, because that was not the way that Essent was presented to Sharon nor Paris), so Bill was in the wind.

He's apparently redeemed himself over the years, with Trinity, and now CHS. Bill will be taking the reins of Northwest Health System on an interim basis. Apparently the CEO and CFO simultaneously resigned. That in itself is probably significant. Also significant is the fact that while writing this, the web page with Doug Arnold (CEO) is still up--but probably not for long. The memo went out on the 18th. Good luck Bill.


TO: Northwest Health System
Members of the Board
Members of the Medical Staff

FROM: Michael Portacci
President – Division II Operations

DATE: March 18, 2010

SUBJECT: CEO Announcement
Doug Arnold, Chief Executive Officer, and Eddie Klein, Chief Financial Officer, have resigned their positions with Northwest Health System effective immediately.

Bill Heburn will lead the system as Interim Chief Executive Officer, providing operational oversight during the transition. Bill is a veteran hospital executive who has worked with CHS-affiliated hospitals, most recently as a chief executive of the 349-bed Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

A national search for new officers has begun; board and medical staff leaders will be involved in identifying the best candidates to lead this system.

Through the strength of our medical staff and employees across the Northwest Health System, I am confident that your focus will remain on delivering quality patient care. Thank you for your commitment to being the healthcare resource in our communities.


“Community Health Systems” is a registered trade name of
Community Health Systems Professional Services Corporation

Friday, February 12, 2010

Management by Proxy....5/20

More commentary, seemed fairly poignant, so it gets its own post:
I'm not sure anyone reads this blog any more, but I'll give my last 2 cents worth of commentary.

Truism: A business exists to benefit the owner, not the employee. It is what it is. The sad fact is, it seems Essent only cares about corporate earnings statements and not the people who support the business; customers and employees.

That being said, what has happened to this community is a terrible thing. Many previous posters have talked about every issue possible, offered their solutions to many, many problems only for them to fall on deaf ears. Most didn't have Harvard MBA's but had experience a degree couldn't provide.

Although Essent is reading these comments, they are much like the current administration in Washington and that is; "Full speed ahead, damn the torpedos."

It's too bad that they didn't listen to the troops on the ground. After all, it wasn't their money and prestige they were squandering, it was other peoples.

I don't know of one single person, me included, that has left that place without bitterness in their heart. It used to be such a nice place to call home. And, it was home to thousands of people in Paris and surrounding areas. Not any more.

I believe the hospital will survive, but it will take many years to regain the trust of the people in Paris and NE Texas.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Funny Thing Happened....3/12

A lot of people wonder why the posts have dried up. It's not that there isn't anything to discuss or cuss, it's just that the discussion seems rather futile. It doesn't change.

The ER loses good staff, and they hire locums. Clinical or nursing loses staff, and locums replace them at twice or three times the cost.

The spread-out services continue to make it difficult for Essent's showplace to be truely functional.

The 401Ks go begging for a second year, but a new hospital is acquired.

When ever you ask someone that works here how things are, the first thing they do is look over their shoulder...that says a lot. (Try it sometime, you'll see what I mean.)

But, apparently the only thing we lose is customers. Paying customers, that is.

Maybe it's the wave of the future, but this is a future that doesn't float my boat. I think it's about time that I plot a different course. There are enough locum jobs that don't involve Essent and provide a safe way to evaluate an employer--and an area.

There are a number of former staff that have made the move--I'll probably have mates to commiserate with. I just hate the idea of the bad guys default.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ya Wonder....2/11

By now most know that Essent is in the due-diligence phase of the Brown County General Hospital in Ohio. It is also noted that they didn't bring the commissioners to Paris....

I particularily liked the quote in The Ledger Independent:

"Essent will breathe new life into Brown County General Hospital," Edwards said.


Essent will also provide capital for facility and equipment enhancements and
proposed to invest "significant amounts of capital over the next three years to
include the construction of two new floors with approximately 50 private
inpatient rooms," according to a press release.

Wonder how that plays in the new hospital in Ayer, MA--Oh yeah, they decided not to build that one. And when was that move to the North Campus taking place...let's see now...Oh yeah, in the beginning of the year. This year or last year?

Must be a real good price, and who in the organization is getting their raises and matching funds? Divide that rumored bonus by 2000 hours to find approximately what your actual hourly bonus is.

I'm just waiting for the naming contest. Bet Georgetown Regional Medical Center takes the prize.... Has a ring to it--like the Gong Show....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Half Better Than None?....10/30

Remember when Essent was negotiating for Nachez Regional Medical Center--and they backed out because the other hospital in town wasn't included in the deal? Well, for the first time in five years, NRMC is projecting a profit of approximately 3/4 of a million. Timing is everything, I'd say.

'Course they're also projecting $12.5 Million in bad debt--unpaid bills. Now, if Obama-care makes it through, would those debts be unpaid? That would suddenly transform these small, un-profitable hospitals into cash machines...or so it's touted.

A lot of folks don't remember, but one of Hud's (the original CEO of Essent) catch phrases was, "We want to make this 'the' hospital in the area..." Hud really meant, the only hospital in the area. They were actually going to try to repeat the Paris condition.

This is the one where patients are shuttled back and forth by ambulance from ER to ER, based on an initial diagnosis which may or may not be accurate? And where they are moved, again by ambulance, to the North to have an MRI, and then back to the South?

To heck with hospitals, I'm investing in ambulance services! That is the growth industry.

But, if either Obama-care, or the proposed Republican health care plan go through, the county hospitals that Essent has been scooping up will suddenly be gold--in 2010-13. Isn't that when the phase in goes into effect?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Local Impact....9/28

You might have wondered why I started covering the national health care issue, rather than more local problems. The latest poll that came through might be a reason. Currently 48% of the surveyed population are rating the health care system we have as good or excellent, as opposed to 29% last year. And, we're going into a congressional recess.

What does that mean, locally? With the announcement of the possibility of increased taxes on the "middle class", there is a real chance that the health care bill will stall, if not fail. Medicare cuts have already been projected. What are most of the Essent hospitals dependent on? Federal programs.

PRMC is currently, if I'm not mistaken, considered as part of the metroplex in Medicare reimbursement levels. The new cuts will leave the rural rates alone and cut into metro. So, a quandary: Will the new rates drop below the rural, equal them, or stay above? How much of a cut will PRMC take? Hmmm?

Quite possibly Nashville was sitting back, confident that a lot of the self-pay/no-pay would now be covered, pushing their revenue levels up. Now, the projection might not be so rosy...possibly equivalent to a lump of coal in their stocking.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Damned If You Do....9/3

Remember, years ago, when the Medicare renewal was let slip through the cracks and the reimbursement rates went to rural, rather than that of the metroplex? Well, under what is being cussed and discussed in Congress, that might be a good thing in the future.

Apparently, rural hospitals and physicians (medically under served areas) will not sustain the level of cuts that are being proposed to current Medicare levels. My take is that they are afraid of the egress of physicians from those areas to more profitable practices.

Understand, this is proposed, not a done deal.

So, PRMC and the other Essent hospitals might actually make out better. Who'da thunk it?

But, here is the kicker: While the percentage of insured would go up, the levels of reimbursement would still go down. The plan still doesn't cover everyone of those that are 'counted' in that 46, 47, or 50Million that is being bandied about.

What will happen, is more taxes--tax the wealthy will descend to tax the working. And I'll foretell something additional: Both Social Security and Obamacare both become means tested. So, if you've been responsible, saved, and invested in your retirement--tough. We're giving it to the ones that overspent their income (you saw it in the home loans, why not here as well?) All others pay cash.

All I'm saying, is that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. We've seen the examples: Federal programs with spending 300% over their estimates. Bailouts for the poorly managed (corporations as well as family finances.) Earmarks attached to "essential" funding...and we're willing to turn our health care to those people (who aren't crazy enough to opt for the same program)?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Ayer is a Bit Stale....2/23

Dr. Cerel has come to view, as of late. A few comments stored up directed me to two locations. The Mass Board of Registration, and "rateMDs".

The Mass Board of Registration had this to say:
Hospital Discipline:
This section contains several categories of disciplinary actions taken by Massachusetts hospitals during the past ten years which are specifically required by law to be released in the physician's profile.

1. Facility: Nashoba Valley Medical Center
Action Begin Date: 2/10/2005
Action End Date: 6/20/2005
Action: Other

Basis or Allegation:

  • Failure to follow internal by-laws, rules, etc.

  • Interpersonal skills/personal behavior

  • Delay in treatment

  • Lack of informed consent-surgery related

  • Failure to prescribe

2. Facility: Emerson Hospital
Action Begin Date: 2/17/2005
Action End Date: 3/16/2005
Action: Suspension of right or privilege

Basis or Allegation:

  • Failure to follow internal by-laws, rules, etc.

Board Discipline:
This section includes final disciplinary actions taken by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine during the past ten years.

1. Date: 3/16/2005
Case #: 2007-024
Action: Practice Restrictions

I would say that he's on staff, with no restrictions, other than what was imposed by the Mass Board. Unless there's something current, the last action was three years ago. However, that put him on training wheels. Wonder when that ends? had this:

He has privleges in one hospital, and is rated 2.3 on a 5pt scale.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More From Emailings....8/5

Emailed to me, subject: Congressional Clout

This is an awful lot of reading. Some of us will just go with the flow. But, read some of the provisions and compare them to the language of the actual bill (attached). Or go through and pick the ones that piss you off—and verify them.

Then, write a letter (a real one, not an email, not an on-line petition—they get round-filed) to your congressman (the link will take you to where you find out who yours is.) You can say that you’re mad as hell and that mad is going to stay around through the next election. Cite the provisions that bother you. Get your spouse to sign as well.

Think about this: There hasn’t been a President elected from an independent party in recent history. Too much stacked against them. But, Congress is a different story. And the weight of the independents when the two major parties are deadlocked is significant. More actually than a long-term incumbent.

Maybe we do need to make a change, but I want to know that my representatives are aware of the provisions and can vote intelligently—like we supposedly did when we voted them in. Passing a bill with only the vaguest idea of what it contains is not responsible. Too many people respond to the “this won’t last long in this market” and “if you snooze, you lose.” ***

This is a bill that we have no idea as to what it is going to cost. No one does. Yet. The time to find out the cost is before it passes. This is the time for competitive bids.

Or don’t feel so superior when those people who bought houses for which the payments are more than their total income are paraded on TV. You’ll be one of them.
The included listings of specific hot-button items is in comments. The post would have been far too long. You can download the bill from the previous post's comments.

*** I would include, "And Congress responds to, "We have to pass this NOW!" Less reading."

And, another chipped in:

Yes, healthcare for the elderly will be seriously ... Yes, healthcare for the elderly will be seriously limited. Tests and surgeries deemed too expensive will not be allowed.
Can euthanasia clinics be far behind?
And yes one congressman did state that the healtcare bill was too long to read and he didn't need to read it anyway. Now I ask you, if someone handed you contract filled with fine print and clauses would you just sign it? Or would insist on reading it and having your lawyer read it too before you signed it? Yet that is what Obama is asking congress to do. Sign it into law without knowing what's in it. Obama has even admitted he hasn't read the damn thing. Who's driving the bus??
I urge everyone to email their congressmen and senators while they are on recess. Let them know this healthcare bill is not what you want!!!

I admit, if someone dropped a 1000+ page contract on my desk, I'd want some serious review done. Either by myself, or by someone with my interests at heart. We don't have that here.

An added inclusion, submitted in a comment, but since it doesn't display there, I thought I'd bring it forward.
Frank, check out Pg932-6 and see how this applies:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

80% Believe....7/31

The latest figures indicate that Congress should come under whatever health care program that the citizens are being forced into. Is 'forced' the correct term? Possibly not, but there are reservations--from physicians, from health care workers, and from citizens, as well as Congress itself.

What are those reservations?

  • Cost

  • Ability to keep what some already have.

  • Congress being lax in reading the 1000+ pages of the House bill.

  • Congress's adamant refusal to come under the provisions of the bill.

  • Taxing employer provided health care (didn't they criticize McCain for that proposal?)

  • Forcing out the commercial policies.

  • Possible federal mandated restricted care (MRIs, CTs, and C-sections are what were touched on. Probably more to come.)

  • Exaggeration of the numbers of the uninsured.

  • Who is going to pay for it?

  • If you are going to limit costs, are you going to enact tort reform (litigation is a major source of medical costs?)

  • Limiting treatment to those with terminal YOUR parents, or you.

Fewer applications to medical schools might be fortelling the future. One reason is the overwelming amount of paperwork mandated by the federal government. And you think it'll be less???? We've been depending on FMGs (Foreign Medical Graduates) covering the rural and inter-city areas. What happens to their incentive to stay if the Fed gets involved to this extent?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Change, But Can We Live With It?....7/26 interesting word. We've definitely had change in Paris.

But, we're talking about the Federal Government--managing 1/6 of our Gross National Product. This is the same government that has yet to come in under budget on almost anything?

This is the same administration that said they didn't understand the severity of the recession?

The same administration that let Billions in pork get attached to the stimulus package.

This is the same administration that wants to include 10+ MILLION illegals in the care process....because if they're citing the justification for 50 Million uninsured, they're part of that number.

Of course, that also includes those young adults that are not covered--by choice: those healthy enough to roll the dice, and mostly win. That's an extra latte a day.

That also includes those that are counting on the guaranteed access to emergency treatment, reguardless of ability to pay, that already exists. They are estimated at 18 Million, with many over the $50k income level.

So, what happens when the government runs hospitals? Take the VA...look at Walter Reed. One of the formost military hospitals...and what was it that they were having problems with? Oh yeah, patients falling through the cracks. Almost literally, since there were holes in the floors and walls.

So, if these patients are heroes, what's in store for the rest of us????

I'll consider making that change...when Congress makes the same one....