Friday, February 16, 2007

Essent in the Spotlight...2/28

One of the most documented acquisitions that Essent has made has been Sharon Hospital in Connecticut. It is interesting to see some of the statements, in context, about that process, and Essent's preparation for it.

Political Connections:
A supporter for the privatization of Sharon Hospital was the governor, John Rowland, who later resigned. Former Gov. Rowland was subsequently convicted (and sentenced to a year in federal prison) for what was essentially accepting bribes during the period that included the Sharon purchase. "People seeking to do business with the state resorted to various sleazy means to curry favor with top officials."

On July 1, 2006, Rowland spoke to an association of scholar athletes in Kingston, Rhode Island, about the lessons he learned. A "sense of entitlement" and the arrogance of power" were two of the biggest things that ended his political career, the Hartford Courant quoted him as saying.

He warned that the arrogance is very easy when you're put on a pedestal, and you "start to believe your own press releases. ... It [becomes] all about me. You start to block out what else is around you."
One would almost think he was talking about Hud. They probably got along well that the governor wanted to seal the deal for Sharon behind closed doors, but the Attorney General of CT got involved.

Another person of note that was encouraging the conversion to for-profit was Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, for which there were direct campaign contributions and attempt at a breakfast fund raiser at the hospital (see Breakfast...for a Price). Hud has never been terrifically shy as far as contributions.

Therrien (Sharon Hospital CEO) describes Johnson as "a true friend" of Sharon Hospital who has "been with us every step of the way, working with our staff to remove red tape and help us meet our shared vision." He did not detail the "red tape" that Johnson had helped to remove. A “paid for by” attribution at the bottom of the one-page letter said, “Paid for and Authorized by Nancy Johnson for Congress.”

But, the process of dealing with the Attorney General's office was revealing as well. Several errors were made, and documented in the findings:

55. Contrary to Mr. Connery’s July 10, 2001 testimony presented under oath that Essent had no plan, on July 17, 2001 Essent submitted a copy of an undated draft document entitled Business Plan & Due Diligence Summary, Proposed Acquisition of Sharon Corporation and Certain Affiliates in response to the Attorney General’s Request for Production, #15. Section 3 of this plan states, "Sharon Corporation and its subsidiary West Sharon Corporation, owns 13 parcels of real estate with an approximate value of $4.1 million. The total annual rent collected from the properties is approximately $430 thousand. It would be management’s intention to sell a substantial portion of these properties to offset the capital that will be committed to the property." It appears that this draft business plan was prepared in the latter part of 2000 or the early part of 2001.

70. At OHCA’s public hearing held on July 10, 2001, Mr. Connery and his associates failed to provide satisfactory answers to numerous OHCA inquiries concerning the assumptions and basis for the projections upon which the projected financial and inpatient volume statistics (with and without the proposed sale) were formulated. Mr. Connery assured OHCA that these assumptions would be submitted to OHCA during the following week with Essent’s Certificate of Need ("CON") application filing. The CON application was not officially submitted during the following week and no such assumptions and basis for the projections were ever submitted to OHCA in this proceeding by the Applicants.

72. On July 24, 2001 subsequent to OHCA’s public hearing, the Applicants submitted a "corrected spreadsheet" for Sharon Hospital showing revised estimated/actual and projected operating results and inpatient volume statistics with and without the sale of the Hospital to Essent. No assumptions or explanations of any of the numerical changes contained in the second submission of the information previously submitted to OHCA were included with the "corrected spreadsheet." In addition, there was no explanation or a breakdown of how many months included actual results and how many months were projected for the FY 2001 estimated/actual amounts.

77. Mr. Connery did not explain how "sheer stability" would directly result in the large projected increases in patient revenue and inpatient volume statistics with the sale above the levels currently experienced by the Hospital. In addition, there was no explanation given of why there were large decreases in projected inpatient volume statistics without the sale from those estimated for FY 2001, while projected outpatient volume statistics without the sale were greater in FY 2002 and FY 2003 than those levels estimated for FY 2001.

88. Essent did not submit, as requested, the Indigent and Charity Care policy of Crossroads Regional Hospital of Wentzville, Missouri for when it was known as Doctor’s Hospital prior to Essent’s purchase, nor did Essent explain the reason why the policy was not submitted.

We can say without too much fear of contradiction that a lot of the answers to those questions raised by the Findings of Fact are fairly self-evident:

  1. Their figures were just thrown at the wall to satisfy the hearings.

  2. They intended to sell off the properties included.

  3. They didn't want anything about Crossroads to come out.

  4. And, sheer stability---give me a break....


Anonymous said...

Somehow this reminds me of a Don McLean song. Most folks only know his classic "American Pie" but he wrote a great little ditty about a guy who keeps going back to a girl who breaks his heart consistantly. He calls his friend crying and his friend says:

"When the gates are down/
And the signal is flashing/
And the whistle is screaming in vain/
And you stay on the tracks
ignoring the facts/
Well you can't blame the wreck on the train!"

Seems Hud is really good at ignoring the facts and the warning signals....But he's also really good at putting the blame elsewhere. PRMC will be cured by a reduction in staff of 10% or so he thinks.

Anonymous said...

too late for the cure ... staff cuts will make it worse than ever...

Anonymous said...

Have the cuts happened yet? And if so, what kind of spin has the waste-of-ink-and-paper printed? A business the size of PRMC slicing 10% of its employees is newsworthy, and just can't be covered by roses, sunshine, rainbows and cute little puppies.

And for those who do get the axe, man, I feel sorry for you- all of you. Even if you have to leave Paris, I hope you land on your feet again.

Anonymous said...

It is just mind boggling how EssentHealthcare has come into Texas and Massachusetts and DESTROYED our community hospitals which for so many years provided quality care to the local residents. It is a sad day when one fears that if there was a 911 call to their home they would want their family member transported to a facility that is not owned by Essent. I feel for the true care givers at PRMC who may be layed off. I'm sure many of you have devoted your entire lives to working at a facility that you were once proud of. While your facility is going thru lay offs Steve Roach CEO of Nashoba Valley Medical Center is spouting in the local newspaper about Essent building a 50 to 60 million dollar hospital in Ayer, Massachusetts. Essent claims to be breaking ground in 2008 or 2009. The medical center's major focus is going "FROM A HOSPITAL SETING TO A HOTEL SETTING" said Chief Executive Officer Steve Roach. Apparently Hud and his buds are moving away from the healthcare arena and into HOTEL MANAGEMENT. It brings me great comfort to know that mom and dad will take their last breath with a flat screen t.v. and an internet connection.But will they have their Meds??? For complete article check lowellsun. com Not your grandfather's hospital. It is going to take more than a new facility to earn the trust of the local residents to chose Nashoba Valley Medical Center for their healthcare needs. If we build it they'll come! Don't think so. It will be just like the Shaws supermarket on route 119. EMPTY PARKING LOT.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that all employees are aware that if you are being low censused and are a normal 40 hour full time employee that you can apply for unemployment benefits so you will not burn up your vacation time. Many of us in our department are going today to TWC. It may take two to four weeks to get your pay, but at least you won't lose the PTO that you've earned.

Anonymous said...

Go figure, the growth of RRVR has been on an incline.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the TWC...that is very interesting to know.
However, what I wonder is if by the staff cuts that they are taking care of being LC'd anyway.
It doesn't do much good to send someone home that they are going to have to pay them anyway.
What will end up happening is that they will cut all the departments bare to the bone and the nurses will be working all over the hospital to meet staffing needs. Nobody will have a home department anymore. Most unfortunate for high acuity areas like ER and ICU. Won't be very helpful for them to get a psych nurse or a rehab nurse to fill a staffing need.
The "CCU" is just about a joke.
Supposed to be a high acuity area, however, when you are staffing it with float nurses--most you got there is a "simple" tele unit.

Anonymous said...

The departments are already being low censused. We had 50 hours cut last week. Some have been sent home each day ending their shift early. We knew last week that we would be sent home this week as our schedule reflected it.

Anonymous said...

To Barbara Butler: You better look good and hard at your dept. heads that are running the show. Some of these people need to be the one's getting the axe(personnel getting paid the big bucks for sitting on their A$$ chit chatting, cutting up, when others are BUSTING THEIR A$$ to earn a living!!!)
You have some people that shouldnt even been the head of some particular depts anyhow. There are people in some depts that have no degree and some that are very educated are the ones who will probably end up getting the raw end of the stick!!!! Barbara, you better think twice about letting these "head directors" cut jobs!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

There is life outside of the city limits!!! I went for an interview today. The director of the unit shook my hand and smiled. The employees were HAPPY!! I met one of the doctors and she smiled and shook my hand! There's a former Paris employee there and she called me tonight to tell me how much happier she is there and she never even worked here when E$$ent was here.. My gosh, they even got a Christmas bonus this year. They offered me 5 dollars an hour more than I'm making here. I asked about a place to stay during bad weather and was told, ABSOLUTELY. "We value our employees safety and wouldn't want you driving in bad weather". I'm amazed. Now, I know that every place has it's faults and there will be a time when I will need to refer back to my own writings about how great this new place is, but I met an employee that has been there for 12 years and is still happy. They have nurses that have been there much longer. They're just a short drive to Dallas, where I'm sure they could make more money, but this hospital keeps them happy, which in turn keeps them there, taking excellent care of their patients. They're BUILDING on to the hospital. Making room for their increased patient load. If health care reimbursement rates are so bad, how can this be? Could it be the management of the hospital? Could it be that the hospital made affiliations with larger healthcare orginizations that allows them to purchase items at a lesser rate? What is the solution? I am just a lowly nurse that wants to take the best care of my patients possible. I don't have a degree in finance or hospital administration, but something has to be wrong that I see other hospitals in this area building and increasing their services, while PRMC is laying people off. One of the first principles in a for-profit facility has to be that if you keep your employees happy that they'll keep your customers happy. I guess Hud was absent on that day. It doesn't take a genius to see that this hospital is being mismanaged in so many ways. All of the folks that have never been anywhere else, just don't know any better. I pray for you all and the patients you will care for. Me, for one, will happily pen my resignation letter shortly.

Anonymous said...

I'd say we're at a Crossroads in more than one way. We've been notified that the hospital is in bad shape by the cuts, and by Dickie's arrival. Healthcare quality is in the dumper.

Funny, that, because if Hud sold now, he'd probably get a reasonable price...but he feels that failure is personal, so away we go down the drain.

Prospective buyers take note: The garage sale will be conducted in the old Brookshire's parking lot. No reasonable offer refused.

Anonymous said...

10:00 PM,

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Yes, the greener pastures may have a few thistles, but it beats the barren landscape that "Essent"-ially makes up the Lamar County healthcare environment.

Good luck in your career move. Now would be a good time to learn a foreign language so you can use the swear words in your resignation letter (lol).

And for the others thinking of leaving, the healthcare publication ADVANCE has separate issues for X-ray techs, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, etc. Also, a website called Absoulte Health Care is a great place to post your resume.

Good luck to those who want to continue their healthcare careers elsewhere. For those who survive the cuts, good luck period- you're gonna need it until the ship goes down.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with blogger 3:58. Wanda Edwards, Director of HR and Louann Swaney Director of Nashoba Management Group (the physician practices) at NVMC have been dead weight for years. Louann came up from the file clerk job in medical records and has no formal training in running a group practice. She was just the one who knew the most doctors I think. Instead they are cutting the administrative secretaries. Poor Steve and Doreen have to type their own lies now.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh. Is Louann kin to Cheryl Perry then? She was just a typist until she did some...shall we say, serious brown nosing of former she terrorizes PRMC employees daily.

Anonymous said...

Nashoba Valley Medical Center's former CEO Andrei Soran has taken up PowerYoga. Andrei just completed 31 classes in 31 days. His reign of terror at NVMC is finally catching up with him and he needs stress relief. He made such a mess of a decent community hospital and then took off supposedly due to his "ambitons". Now the local residents are left with a low end healthcare facility.It's the talk at the grocery store, hairdresser, sporting events and church.

fac_p said...

Rumor control: It has been said by several sources that another "admin type" is headed for the door. Whether under escort, or upright is undetermined.

So, dust off your resumes, folks, it may be bumpy....frank

Anonymous said...

I'm standing outside this trainwreck-in-progress, well outside of the possible debris field. As sad as it is to see good hard-working folks at PRMC get the short dirty end of the stick, it's almost amusing to see the heads roll in NashVegas.

WOnder if we should put up a betting pool to see which muckety-muck gets the Long Walk. Some of the dept heads at PRMC I have respect for, the rest I don;t know. One or two (hello, Cheryl) of the admin. heads could fall into a pit and never be missed.