One more reason we need socialized medicine

So Avera now is asking there employees to help pay for other people’s healthcare?

Fred Slunecka, Avera McKennan regional president, and other top managers will take a 6 percent pay cut. Other managers will take a 5 percent cut. Other employees will see a 4.75 percent reduction. Employees also will lose five days of paid vacation.

But doctors will have no paycut? How is that across the board? Sacrifice is sacrifice isn’t it? So the receptionists and janitors have to take a cut but not the highest paid employees? The doctors? Typical.

So far, the reductions do not include physicians,

Avera McKennan had a record number of patients this past year, according to Krebs. But accompanying that was a sharp increase in the number of people who sought treatment who were unable to pay for it.

How is this fair to the employees who work hard? I think it is a combination of increased needy patients and Avera trying to keep up with Sanford’s expansion and using the recession as an excuse.

“Our main project is the Avera Cancer Institute,” he said. “It’s a $90 million facility. It is still scheduled to open in fall of 2010.”

Funny, Munson mentioned on Inside Keloland Sunday that the Healthcare industry is doing great in Sioux Falls. Must not have gotten the memo. A hiring freeze and a paycut at one of the top hospitals in the state isn’t exactly ‘doing great’.


#1 Ghost of Dude on 02.25.09 at 7:52 am

Doctors have a skill that’s in demand. Cut their pay and they’ll leave.
Administrative staff are expendable.

#2 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 8:05 am

I know, that’s my point, hospitals only think ‘they’ are important.

#3 Angry Guy on 02.25.09 at 8:47 am

Doctors don’t get a paycut because they work on a volume basis. I’m sure they could take less per procedure, but GoD is right. Pay them or they’ll leave.

One thing that isn’t changing that should is cops will still eat for free. It doesn’t add up to much I’m sure, but WTF? My wife gets a $1200/year paycut but Sgt. Gaye Moustache gets his three squares and all they can make coffee for nothing just so there will be a ‘police presence’ in the hospital. Pretty fucked up.

#4 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 9:10 am

I know, Staggers brought that up in a council meeting and asked Capt. Barthel about it, and he acted like he did not know it was going on, he said “We discourage it.” In other words, there is no policy against it.

I also think the Nurses should not have gotten a paycut either since the doctors aren’t. Everybody will tell you they are the workhorses of the hospital and do and no more about the patients.

#5 Angry Guy on 02.25.09 at 9:23 am

They discourage what?

#6 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 9:24 am

Discourage accepting free meals from the hospitals and other establishments.

#7 John on 02.25.09 at 9:33 am

Capping docs pay is no big deal; heard of military docs, public health service docs, etc.? Doctoring motivated by pay is a bad prescription. When we have national health care then only the docs whose motivation is care will remain (most of them) – those who are motivated by pay will become banksters.

It’s no surprise that politicians like the mayor were out of touch with the main street economy. They were also out of touch with the pre-stimulus planning . . .

#8 Angry Guy on 02.25.09 at 9:49 am

Discouraged my ass. You can’t walk in a SANVERA cafeteria and not see at least 2 pigs stuffing their faces with free shit. They even get their own parking in the ER lot. (that might make sense, but I wonder how often they are actually needed in the ER as opposed to just eating for free)

#9 Ghost of Dude on 02.25.09 at 9:54 am

I also think the Nurses should not have gotten a paycut either since the doctors aren’t. Everybody will tell you they are the workhorses of the hospital and do and no more about the patients.

Yup. The times I’ve visited people in the hospital, I’ve seen a total of maybe three doctors even on the same floor as their patients. Outside of surgery, nurses and PAs do 95% of the actual work.

#10 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 9:55 am

Well in their defense, they are some of the lowest paid workers in the city, but I have a feeling their pay rate is based on their IQ’s.

John- actually, Munson turned in a list (I have it posted on my site) the problem is, they have budgeted for most of the projects in the 5 year CIP or are bonding money for them. It would be like being able to afford a new car, pay cash for it then turnaround and ask your rich uncle to reimburse you for it. Guess what his answer would be?

#11 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 9:58 am

I’m talking about cops in the above post, not nurses, just to clarify.

#12 Costner on 02.25.09 at 10:08 am

The way I understood it Doctor’s salaries are negotiated via a contract, so it wasn’t as easy as just telling them they are getting a pay cut.

I do believe they are negotiating now, and I have actually heard that the doctors (many of them at least) WANT to take a pay cut so the other staff isn’t hostile towards them.

Unfortunately, even though patient levels continue to grow, the number of patients who cannot pay for their treatment grows even faster, and that is what is leading to this situation.

We either need massive healthcare reform, or Avera and Sanford will soon start refusing treatment to anyone without insurance and/or suffering from an emergency medical condition. Frankly I couldn’t blame them….they aren’t government or county hospitals – they are private, so nothing says that they must offer their services for free.

#13 Angry Guy on 02.25.09 at 10:23 am

They can’t refuse to treat a patient based on insurance coverage. It’s part of that whole ‘Do no harm’ thing.

#14 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 12:24 pm

Like I said, socialized medicine is the only option. Maybe one day we will wakeup and figure it out.

#15 Ghost of Dude on 02.25.09 at 1:11 pm

It’s already been figured out. The more people who get laid off and discover how COBRA works, the more calls we’ll have for a national health insurance system where you don’t have to pay an extra $600/month just for being unemployed.
The health insurers and their political cronies brought this upon themselves.

#16 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 1:22 pm

Who knew KARMA was a medical condition?

#17 Costner on 02.25.09 at 1:33 pm

They can’t refuse to treat a patient based on insurance coverage. It’s part of that whole ‘Do no harm’ thing.

That isn’t exactly true. They may not be able to turn away someone from the ER who has a metal spike through their chest, but they could turn away the 40 year old guy who needs a back surgery to ease his pain or the 65 year old woman who is wanting to have a kidney transplant to get off dialysis.

Or better yet – they wouldn’t have to take in people like Patrick Deuel which cost them millions for treatment without one penny of it coming from his own pocket or insurance.

Many private hospitals do in fact turn away such charity cases on a regular basis whereas both Sanford and Avera seem to let them come even when they know they won’t be paid. Whether that is because they don’t want to earn the reputation of the Sioux Falls hospital who doesn’t care about people or simply because they honestly want to help people I can’t say.

In any case we all seem to agree it isn’t sustainable and something needs to change.

#18 l3wis on 02.25.09 at 2:42 pm

What amazes me is that Britain has had socialized medicine for over 60 years and they haven’t gotten rid of it. So if it is so awful (according to Republicans) Why do Brits keep it?

#19 Angry Guy on 02.25.09 at 2:53 pm

Costner, I agree that they wouldn’t turn away a medical emergency. I know for a fact that clinics from both health systems will turn away deadbeat patients for missing 3 scheduled appointments. Clinic is the key word there.
Charity cases are kind of a different discussion. Remember the hype behind “Back-Fat Pat”? They were going to make him a new person, with a second lease on life… He still eats McD’s and smokes… Just think of the cost of burial….

#20 Ghost of Dude on 02.25.09 at 3:38 pm

Burial? Just think of the energy we could get by cremation.
Ever do that experiment where you had to light a peanut on fire and count how long it burned? Imagine that times a billion.

#21 Angry Guy on 02.26.09 at 7:16 am

Would that be a “super-sized” nova?

#22 l3wis on 02.26.09 at 7:36 am

I always like the video of Patrick when he was first admitted to the hospital, and he was doing his ‘exercises’ by doing half-ass pullups. Looked like they were hanging a side of beef.

#23 Angry Guy on 02.26.09 at 8:32 am

He always reminds me of that Family Guy episode where Peter wishes he didn’t have bones.

#24 Costner on 02.26.09 at 8:43 am

And you know he has gained about 100 pounds in the last year. That’s progress I guess.

I’m not sure what upsets me more… the fact the guy took advantage of everyone around him, or the fact my tax dollars pay for his “disability”.

#25 l3wis on 02.26.09 at 9:09 am

I look at people like that this way – what a sad miserable life they must live – glad I am not them.