Entries Tagged 'Healthcare' ↓

City of Sioux Falls taps Nigerian Doctor for new health director

I’m actually pretty excited about Dr. Chima coming to our city, especially his views on preventative care. This podcast gives us a hint of his thought process.

I also believe that he will be welcomed by our immigrant community and the healthcare community.

I do have concerns though, some are obvious, some are not.

First, it is safe to assume Dr. Chima was selected through a national search conducted by the city’s health board. It is probably safe to say that the mayor’s office and HR department had little to do with the selection, but I’m sure they had to put their stamps on it. I’m sure we will hear more about that in the coming weeks.

My biggest concerns are how he will be accepted by our Healthcare industrial complex in the city that thrives on keeping people just sick enough so they make money which goes against his philosophy of wholistic care and preventative medicine. This of course is not just a problem in our community but across America and why healthcare in this nation is so expensive and really not that good.

I also am concerned how he will operate openly in a very closed city government. Science and medicine performs the best under trust and honesty.

Lastly, I am concerned about the bigots in our city that won’t give him a chance. I think HE can handle it, but I am not naive, he will have some enormous obstacles to overcome when it comes to racism.

I wish him luck, I think he will be transformative, if we will let him.

Goodbye City of Sioux Falls Health Director Jill ‘Bride of’ Franken

Many of my readers have been asking me why I haven’t posted about the retirement of Jill Franken. To be brutally honest I have been privately celebrating.

But I will give her a brief reprieve.

Jill got the top job under Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut’s administration under the recommendation of a city councilor who was very close friends with Jill. Doesn’t really matter who that person was because it is simply a matter of ‘who you know’ not ‘what you know’.

Under Jill’s reign of chair warming she has virtually ignored prostitution in our massage parlors, helped cover up ghost ambulances and as her number one duty to protect public health in dealing with Covid turned it over to our Hospital Industrial complex. Oh, and she killed smoking at Jazzfest, which ironically has been killed anyway.

But I think my best memory of Jill was when she was asked to personally call me by the previous mayor to tell me about all the various distribution sites of FREE condoms. I wanted to laugh, but I think I just said, thanks for calling.

Like most 6-Figure directors in Sioux Falls that quickly cash-in on their retirement at the top of the pay scale I thankfully say, good riddance.

‘I’m just filling in.’ (H/T JR)

A foot soldier sent me this video of some roaming gun rights dude (who first calls it Sioux Falls, Minnesota) and reveals some interesting rules about carrying weapons in public buildings in South Dakota. As far as I know, he was correct in his assessment, you can’t legally carry into courthouses, schools or the capital building, but all other public buildings are free game. I have often told the city council that Carnegie Hall is a dangerous place because they don’t limit firearms, and as we saw in this video just filmed a few weeks ago, apparently you can bring them into public health facilities.

Oh, and Mr. Filling In security guard . . . WOW!

Will a major merger be announced on Monday in Sioux Falls?

Just when we thought the big announcement was Amazon there is another one brewing in Sioux Falls. I wasn’t going to say anything because I figured it was going to be headlines on Stormland TV last night. I guess not, but enough peeps have been blowing it in my ear, and it sounds like the announcement could be as soon as Monday, so I will give you a teaser.

So here is what I will give you, and you can draw your own conclusions (please, feel free to comment, but I will delete any comments that mention either party). A major healthcare provider in Sioux Falls is planning a ‘Merger’ (not an all out sale) with another major provider. The kicker is that the other provider is NOT local, they are not even regional. They are from a western mountain state.

But this is where the news gets juicy, while I have heard the name of the system that wants to merge with the Sioux Falls system, I was a little taken back. They are owned by a large religious organization, and let’s just put it this way, it’s not Catholics or Protestants (or even Jews).

If the merger happens, and all the parties I have been told that are involved are truly involved, healthcare in Sioux Falls is going to look very different a year from now.

Oh, and probably expect more people knocking at your front door 🙂

Why do SD politicians and family members run off to Minnesota for medical treatment?

We recently saw it in the news, a prominent SD politician’s family member has a serious medical condition and they are seeking treatment . . . in Minnesota.

First off, I wish them the best, secondly I don’t blame them for wanting to go to one of the most advanced healthcare providers in the world. I have had many friends use the facility for all kinds of different treatments and have had great success.

But what I often find ironic is how our prominent politicians in the state will tell us how great our local Industrial Complex Healthcare providers are with research, treatment options, and jobs, jobs, jobs! Yet when one of them gets a serious condition, they run to Minnesota.

I wish they would go to Minnesota for legislative advice also, because we have a serious sickness in Pierre that needs advanced treatment.

Here’s a story that is years past due

When the state legislature was arguing to increase teacher pay from last place with a half-penny sales tax increase, I argued at the time ‘What about the rest of us?’ Especially other professionals in the state, like nurses;

According to the American Nurses Association, South Dakota’s registered nurses have the lowest annual salary of any state and the District of Columbia, ranking 51st behind Mississippi, Alabama and Iowa.

The association reports that South Dakota’s 12,530 registered nurses received an average annual salary of $57,010, or $27.41 per hour in 2017. California’s RNs posted the highest compensation at $102,700, $49.37 per hour.

Health care officials say many factors contribute to South Dakota’s comparatively poor compensation levels for nursing, including the rural nature of the state, as well as low reimbursement rates to hospitals from Medicare, Medicaid and Indian Health Services.

I would agree Medicare/Medicaid expansion probably would help. But I have argued for years that if we want to increase teacher pay, we should concentrate on raising EVERYONES PAY! I have had several friends leave the state who work in the healthcare industry for the same reason, PAY. In fact two of my friends that are RNs literally DOUBLED their pay overnight by leaving the state. Think about that. DOUBLED! They also told me the same stories about the healthcare industry in Sioux Falls, where pay is top heavy and run amuck with corruption and greed. They also said, when it comes to nursing pay between the two major hospitals, there is obvious wage collusion going on. One of my friends who worked at both systems before she left for greener pastures said to me, “Don’t you think it is a little strange that both hospital’s nursing pay is IDENTICAL?” Yeah, things that make you go hmmmm.

But I don’t want to make this about nursing alone, many professionals in our state are below average when compared to other states. So when I hear our teachers need more pay, I would agree, but in reality your pay is reflective of what the rest of us are making.

So why has it taken so long for a news agency to cover this story? I think we know the answer to that question.

Should Hospitals invest in Sports Bars?

As Washington debates the repeal of the ACA, right here in Sioux Falls one of our industrial hospital complexes seem to be so awash in money they are investing in a new Sports Bar at the Sanford Sports Complex. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think they own the original restaurant that was there, some ownership in the hotel and the sports complex itself which includes a basketball stadium.

Sanford has argued in the past that funding these things is a ‘small percentage’ of their entire budget. But I ask a two-part question, 1) If Sanford is losing money on these facilities, how does that affect healthcare costs in Sioux Falls and wages (SD is nearly last in nursing pay in the country) or 2) if these investments are actually making money, why aren’t healthcare costs going down and paying employees more?

Sanford would argue they need these amenities to bring in good doctors with families, I get it. But what should be the true duty of healthcare? Entertaining rich doctors or bringing top notch affordable healthcare to patients? I’ve never understood making a profit on healthcare, whether that is hospitals, pharma, insurance or even ambulance service.

While patients are drowning in debt or not getting care at all, our hospitals are worried about Sports Bars and basketball, and we wonder why healthcare in our country is such a mess.

2017 City Salaries; Health Department Dentists & Other officials

Today we will look at the Health Department.

Did you know that some of the highest paid city employees are dentists?

The city health department employees 4 dentists with combined salaries of $620K. Seems odd, doesn’t it? When we think of snow plow operators or police officers, we think of direct service to the public, or at least most of it? But you wouldn’t likely use a city employed dentist unless you had to go to community health because financial restraints. In defense though, as I understand it, the community health department does try to receive some kind of payment. Sometimes through Medicare or Medicade. I would be curious how many patients are served by our city dentists each year?

It also seems the Health Department has many high paying jobs in the department besides dentists.

The Director receives $157K and the Chief Medical Officer about $205K a year. Oddly, even with these positions, the Director has 2 managers that receive the same wage of $88K a year. There are also 13 other mid-management that receives approximately between $80-$100K a year. The clinic even has its OWN finance director (even though the city has a well staffed finance division already) that makes $97K a year.

What is odd about these wages, that are probably not out of line of with a community our size is that many of the minions don’t even receive a living wage. Approximately 15 workers receive under $17 per hour (defined by Thrive as a living wage in Sioux Falls). With the remaining staff making a decent middle income of about $47K. The Sioux Health department has some of the highest wages (in management) of any department in the city) yet Sioux Falls continues to rank average or below average on National health rankings, especially when it comes to obesity and lack of exercise.

Here is the full doc: 2017-Wages

Governor Daugaard Makes Us Proud Again when it comes to healthcare

Cory touches on one side of the story;

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that South Dakota is violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing thousands of South Dakotans into nursing homes instead of providing home-based and community-based care options.

According to the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s letter and findings released yesterday, the department notified the state of this investigation on August 11, 2014. DOJ says South Dakota has spent an inordinate amount of its Medicaid dollars on nursing home care that unnecessarily deny individuals with disabilities the “supports and services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs” that the ADA, as interpreted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 Olmstead decision, requires.

Oh, But Denny has an excuse;

Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota’s governor, said that his state had made progress but that, with such a sparse population, it faced problems not shared by more urban areas.

“Ideally, we want elderly residents and people with disabilities to be able to stay in their communities and receive the services they need without going to a nursing home,” Mr. Daugaard said in a statement. “That can be a challenge for a state like ours, which is made up of rural communities.”

The Justice Department, however, said South Dakota was not trying hard enough to address a problem it has known about for years. In 2013, it spent $133 million in Medicaid money on nursing homes and $27 million on in-home care, the department said.

Oh, baloney. Most of these people are forced into these nursing homes to suck what little estate they have left. They can live on their own with assistance. My 93 year old grandfather lives in un-assisted living apartment by himself. While he has the luxury of many different family members checking on him, he also has a traveling VA nurse that stops by (bi-monthly?) to make sure he has his meds in order and other OTC items. She told him he is her oldest veteran she sees. My grandfather has NO INTEREST in living in a nursing home, and really he is much happier (and healthier) because he is not.

I think the state needs to work with these people more to keep them in their homes.

ALEC’s tinkering with the ACA (H/T – GP)

From Thom Hartmann’s blog;

ALEC wants to kill Obamacare

The American Legislative Exchange Council is pushing new legislation to prevent insurance companies from accepting subsidies under the healthcare law. In public, the new legislation is being called the “Healthcare Freedom Act,” but behind closed doors it’s known as the “Obamacare Kill Bill.” The law would suspend the licenses of health insurers who accept Obamacare subsidies, making it virtually impossible to insure those who can’t afford new plans.

If one of these laws were to actually go into effect, it would force insurance companies to try and collect premiums from patients, or lead them to stop doing business in the states in which it was enacted. Already, the measure has been introduced in Ohio and Missouri, despite the fact that it would be preempted by federal law. States do regulate their own insurance licenses, but the law is an obvious conflict to the federal Affordable Care Act.

Even after more than 40 attempts to repeal Obamacare, a government shutdown, and Ted Cruz’s make-believe filibuster, Republicans don’t seem to get the point that the healthcare law is here to stay. This new legislation is just another pathetic attempt to dismantle the law, at the expense of millions of Americans who need health insurance. ALEC’s legislation doesn’t represent “healthcare freedom,” it represents partisan lawmakers and corporate interests who will do anything to undermine our president.

Wonder which SD legislator ALEC member will sponsor this legislation?