Thursday, June 11, 2009

Efficiency = More state aid

Rob Weisman at the Boston Globe reports that workers at Caritas Carney Hospital have chosen to have SEIU represent them in collective bargaining. That the union was successful in this organizing campaign is unremarkable given the gag order neutrality agreement signed by the management of the Caritas system several months ago.

What is remarkable, though, is this: "Carney employees hope to improve their working conditions and pay and bring the union's clout to bear in pressing for more public resources for the community hospital, which has struggled financially." Carney already receives millions of dollars per year in public support. What an ironic turn of events that its success now relies on increasing that support while the state faces extreme financial problems.

Over the last several years, SEIU has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince the public that BIDMC is inefficient and unsafe -- implying that the management is not competent and that our governing bodies are ineffectual -- and that only its press releases have led to improvements. So while the union has money to squander on a corporate campaign at a hospital in which it has no jurisdiction, it will seek more public funds for a hospital which it will be running.

Perhaps the community should hold SEIU to a different standard of accountability: Demonstrate that it can make Carney more efficient and reduce the amount of taxpayer support needed to keep it viable. Also, start to post clinical outcomes to demonstrate progress in improving quality and safety.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I don't think the unionized positions include CEO. However, there is no question that a comparative effectiveness study between unionized and non-unionized hospitals, carefully controlled for other variables, would be highly useful.
And one could easily eliminate the geography variable by doing the study in a town with a large number of hospitals, like - Boston!

nonlocal

Anonymous said...

Relitive to their size and BID what are the current tax breaks and other public assistance?

BID Employee

Paul Levy said...

There was a recent Boston Globe article about the tax break question. You can check that, but the story has serious methodological problems and in any event is not related to the point I have made here.

Kate said...

"A hospital which SEIU will be running?" Did Caritas give up the management rights clause in their contract too?

Bill said...

Boy did Caritas employees make a mistake here. The SEIU is a self serving corrupt organization that use dues to elect left wing liberal pols who will turn this country in a socialistic state. This will start the bankruptcy of America. Watch out Walmart workers remember what happened to the textile,steel, auto and newspaper industries, GONE because of unions. Caritas will not last long.

Paul Levy said...

Kate,

There are lots of ways places can be run . . .

Scotty said...

With regard to how many way a given place can be run I, personally, prefer one where employees can speak with management directly, bringing forth all the information to the table. Such is a system that can only be successful as all parties work together for a common interest. By definition one might call this a union. So, as an employee at BIDMC I suppose this means that I receive this service for free, and without all the red tape...sweet.

Anonymous said...

By Scotty's definition of a union, we are ALREADY a "union" in the broadest sense! For those of you who don't work at BIDMC and may think he is being sarcastic about being able to talk directly to management---anyone with email access (i.e. everyone who works here) can send an email to Mr. Levy or any other administrator any time. I have done this on several occasions and never failed to get an answer---not just a "thanks for your comments" answer either, but a respectful answer that took my ideas into consideration. "What a great country!"

e-Patient Dave said...

To understand this "neutrality agreement" you really need to reread Paul's February post.

He didn't phrase it this way but as I hear it, management turned into a bunch of woosses, agreeing to not even talk about the subject. No, correct that; they agreed to be banned from talking about it. If approached by a worker with the simplest of questions, they were allowed only to pull out a little card and not say a word.

This is disgusting. Look at what the card says.

To understand the corruption and cynicism of this rule about a "free and fair" election, you only need to consider how the union would react if the tables were turned and union officials were banned from saying a word about it.

So yeah, I think it's not a stretch to say that the union was running the show. How could it be otherwise, if management agreed to be gagged?

And how cynical of them to turn right around and try to get more state aid. Where are SEIU's initiatives to lower costs or improve care? Oh wait, I think that lasted as long as OJ's hunt for the real killer.