Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Where's Ralph?

Back in 2011 and 2012, the CEO of Steward Health Care System was prominently covered in the media for his prowess in orchestrating an alliance of the Boston Archdiocese, Democratic elected officials, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and community organizers to support the sale of the Caritas Christi hospital system to a private equity firm, and meanwhile, too, for hosting a campaign fund-raising event for President Obama.  Commonwealth Magazine noted that Boston magazine, in its April “power issue,” put the CEO on its cover, ranking him 12th among the 50 most powerful people in Boston, right behind his counterpart at the much larger Partners HealthCare.

In recent months, the CEO has disappeared.  When Quincy Medical Center was shuttered, for example, it was another corporate official who took center stage.

But now, we face a new set of issues calling for executive leadership, as set forth in the New York Times:

The CVS Health Corporation said on Tuesday that it would resign from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after revelations that the chamber and its foreign affiliates were undertaking a global lobbying campaign against antismoking laws.

CVS, which last year stopped selling tobacco products in its stores, said the lobbying activity ran counter to its mission to improve public health.

Last week, Harvard health policy expert John McDonough said that the Chamber deserves "shame and disgrace" until the group stops its work on behalf "global merchants of death."

Where's the CEO?

The chief executive of the Steward Health Care System, Dr. Ralph de la Torre, serves on the board of the chamber. In a statement last week, Brooke Thurston, a spokeswoman for Steward, said: “If the chamber is in fact advocating for increased smoking, we do not agree with them on this public health issue.”

That's it?

Steward's owner Cerberus faced some tough public policy and financial issues in the past with its ownership of a major gun manufacturer.  Ater the killing of Connecticut schoolchildren, it promised to divest those assets.

Tobacco sales are not synonomous with guns, but tobacco is widely recognized as a major public health hazard.  It should be pretty easy for the CEO to say that Steward wants no role in encouraging the use of tobacco products or in supporting an organization that opposes reasonable controls on tobacco sales.


Anonymous said...

Just like the local "monopoly" they hide when the words "accountability" and "responsibility" hit. I'm wondering how many needed CPR when they saw a letter of mine that traced their lobbying money going for trains. The amount of lawsuits they had against people and the almost $100 million warchest they had.

Or even better, when I finally asked them to allow a tape recording of the doctor id'ing me and saying things put in my records (wrong I might add), how deafening the silence was.

Management hah. More like golden parachuters, like many politicians, all talk, no action except on behalf of their wallets.

don bruce said...

I suspect the"wheres Ralph" question is greatly related to the financial conditions of Steward..any posts on the financials of Steward would be interesting!!!

Carole said...

Well no offense but where was yours, how about you do you and let others do themselves. Better yet you and people like you just tell the world exactly what to say and how to say it !! Im not super curious to see how fair and open this forum really is ?

Paul Levy said...

Where was my what? I don't understand your question.

I'm not sure what you mean by "you and people like me." Please explain.

Carole said...

Not meant for you Paul, it was for Mr. Don Bruce, sorry I thought it was obvious it was directed to him? The where was yours " a question" his comment was for anonymous at least that's how I understood it and was put off by it. And the "you and people like you" comment was simply meant to imply we all have opinions and should be allowed to express them, in spite of being liked or agreed with. If I misunderstood I apologize, but I'm pretty confident I did not.

Paul Levy said...

Oh, thanks!

Carole said...

Sorry about that !! that comment was fueled off the heels of a frustrating Night of reading a forum mostly consisting of E.D. Doctors and all others. All others who did not agree with unethical comments and spoke up were banned..Let's just say what I got from it wasn't good! They don't appreciate or respect one another, there not crazy about CEO's, surveys, press garney's, patients in pain, Medicaid patients, how about all people for every reason under the sun. I did however and thank God I did, read some comments from those with integrity, honor, and morals. A one Dr. Birdstrike for sure. I really want to learn and know more about surveys, and how they help, hurt, CEO's-hospitals-Doctors. I personally would like to know the truth! Could you make that happen?

Anonymous said...

Wow, this got way off track! Ralph has been not much of a presence either around Steward or in the media. All the crowing and preening and "burn the boats on the beach baby" bravado has been smothered in mountains of red ink, bad news, poor performance, defecting doctors and now this disgrace. Occasionally, his name appears on some marketing conference or another touting his expertise as A hospital CRO. The line is not exactly forming to use his formula for good healthcare or financial success. Hope you can swim, Ralph.

Anonymous said...

It has been my experience that Ralph is very good at keeping his head above water, while letting his colleagues drown.