Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All Hale....12/6

I have been pondering why and how a corporation can hang on with as much red ink as has been flowing...and came up with this next bailout: Obama healthcare. For you of skeptical leanings, float this one:

If everyone is insured, then hospitals will get what they bill for (probably with reductions in reimbursement, but nothing like what goes out for indigent care. So, even MVH would be breaking even, if not making money. But, if you thought healthcare costs are high now, wait for it....

Speaking of MVH, had this comment that had to be elevated:

Mis-management at MVH? How in the world could this be possible with the dedicated leadership staff there?

As a leader/manager with a college degree and almost three decades of world wide experience that used to work at MVH my humble opinion is this:

As long as the “Hale-good-old-girl- system” (hereafter known in this blog as the HGOGS) is in place at MVH, that facility will remain the same. This means miserable working conditions and unhappy employees in some departments because of poor departmental leadership.

To define ‘HGOGS’; MVH was formerly named “The Hale Hospital”. It was a large employer and money-maker for the city of Haverhill. With a large cash-base at their disposal it seems the mentality in the department I worked in was to just get another ‘widget’ if one was broken or missing. This no-accountability mentality is still alive and well in some of the more expensive-to-operate departments of the hospital. A good-old-girl-system (GOGS) occurs when a senior person blindly supports an underling’s decisions because they’re buddies – even if the underling’s decisions may impact adversely on staff or patients.


To flagrantly disregard a nursing standard of care or a recommendation from the infection control committee that could impact on the health and welfare of employees and guests and have the full (blind) support of the senior officer is the HGOGS at work.

Another example of the HGOGS that may be happening at MVH is the hiring of minimally or un-qualified personnel to work in areas under the control of a director because they are friends or acquaintances of the hiring director instead of going through the usual protocol for the hiring process.

Spending outrageous amounts of money on equipment repairs instead of addressing the real problem of employee negligence because the people damaging equipment have been long time employees and are ‘friends’ of those in charge - another example of the HGOGS at work.

Not permitting a department to rehire people due to attrition and insisting that a department operate short on personnel for extended periods of time (even though the department furnishes productivity data which would support new hires). Making false promises to staff departments regarding per-diem employees that may or may not be permitted to work in the short department might also be an example of the HGOGS at MVH.

I could go on but I believe I have captured the essence of the HGOGS.

I do realize (for you more critical readers) that I have a sentence fragment as the opening question of my blog – I did it to catch your eye. Grammatically wrong? Yes, but I spent my time in college working on my clinical skills – not English comp (which I still got an “A” in).

I would be remiss if I did not make a recommendation to change MVH for the better. Simply, get the good-old-girl-system the ‘Hale’ out of MVH. As long as senior leaders blindly support the poor decisions of their uninformed subordinates, morale will continue to wane away and good people will continue to leave. Ultimately, the HGOGS will be the only ones left…try to run a hospital on a staff like that!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Essent Lenders....11/28

Now isn't GE Capital one of Essent's lenders?

From Barrons
November 19, 2008, 10:46 am

GE: Meaning
Well, If Not Always Doing Well

Posted by stockstowatchtoday_topeditor

General Electric (GE) has become the corporate embodiment of the description of a sometimes-wayward so-and-so in a Lyle Lovett song: not always good, but always possessed of good intentions. Two earnings warnings in a year. Insistence that it’s bedrock financial condition remained intact, even though it managed earnings by paying more than $30 a share in buybacks before raising new capital at $22 a share. Pointing to its triple-A credit rating as evidence of its ample liquidity before raising more capital from Warren Buffett, to whom it’s paying a 10% coupon.

The latest reposte from the company that Brings Good Things: Tuesday’s announcement of changes of its GE Capital unit. The move was aimed at saving $2billion. Again, well-intentioned. But, as Deutsche Bank asked in a research note Wednesday: where’s the savings coming from, exactly? Can the company demonstrate where it’s taking costs out of the structure to realize the savings? How does any manager cut risks in a credit crisis that’s fraught with risks?

The problems with financing aren’t limited to GE’s capital operation. There’s increasing chatter in the market, fanned by a Bloomberg report Wednesday, that some of the wind turbine installations that GE is selling into are being postponed because their operators can’t finance the projects. GE said it hasn’t seen any outright cancellations. But some of the anecdotes certainly raise questions. After all, T. Boone Pickens has made himself the populist leader of the wind-farm movement. But Pickens is an oil guy - at heart and in his investments. It’s not to say that he’s anything but sincere in his ambitions to spread the gospel of renewable power. But anybody seen what’s happened to the price of crude lately, and think that might have had some impact on someone like Boone Pickens’ ability to finance new projects?

There’s no crisis in the wind-farm projects, as yet. GE said that it has a ‘’strong” backlog of wind turbine equipment. But Theolia, the French maker of power plant equipment, earlier this week backed off its financial and operational forecasts. That not only validates concerns about the integrity of wind turbine budgets over the short term. On top of it, Theolia’s 80% decline in market valuation certainly suggested GE’s 17% stake in the French company is worth less than it paid for it, another investment that hasn’t worked out.

Meanwhile, GE has made the ”green” movement a big part of its corporate identity, including such messages in its marketing and corporate imaging efforts, as it moves away from its image as a merchant of appliances, an operation it’s selling. A failure in the wind turbine business - even though all power generation represents less than 20% of the company’s sales - would hurt. GE shares declined 3% Wednesday.

I never thought that GE would be just over 12.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Healthcare Alternatives....11/28

I went back in the draft status posts--ones in which I hadn't completed the thought process--and ran across this list of waiting periods for procedures under the Canadian healthcare system:

For Canada, waiting times:
General surgery: 14.3 weeks
surgery: 40.3 weeks
Cardiovascular surgery: 8 weeks
Urology: 11.5 weeks
Internal medicine: 11.5 weeks
Radiation oncology: 5 weeks
oncology: 4.9 weeks.

Now in some cases, those are to get the initial evaluation, not treatment. Realize that we still have Canadians coming over the border to American facilities for diagnosis and treatment because it is so much faster. It might be cheaper in Canada, but if you die while waiting for an appointment, cost becomes less of a factor. (My caveat to the Obama healthcare initiatives.)