Publisher’s note: Please read this carefully and with great consideration. This is a sensitive subject and may cause some to think we are attempting to induce fear or panic. We are not. We do not publish these reports and documents without due deliberation. There are facts that we can no longer conceal; someone must stand up before it is too late.
As we stated in our previous post, SRHS’ plans must be revealed. Since the beginning, SRHS has worked to sow discord between employees and retirees under the theory of divide and conquer. The number of active employees in the plan is greater than the number of retired members. SRHS was in a perfect position to coercively influence their employees against any plan litigation. Indeed, one of the smallest plaintiffs’ groups is made up of active employees.
The largest number of plan members are middle aged. Retirement for them is too far away on the horizon to be worried about squabbling and litigiousness. Right now they are focused on raising kids and getting them off to college, and not as concerned with retirement that is 25+ years away. There is also the idea that there is time for younger and middle aged plan members to recover, so any loss at the hands of SRHS may be made up by future promotions or raises.
Singing River has been working very hard to keep its current employees working under the belief that the settlement is the only way to save Singing River. That if only a settlement is crammed through can things improve. This is not true.
As we stated the other day, even if SRHS’ future pension liability is zero, the system would still struggle. As evidence, look to the last five years where SRHS has paid nothing into the plan. They are still not meeting the financial requirements of the bonds.
Though things have improved, they have not improved enough.
Well before the pension crisis was announced, top Signing River administration was working on a plan to consolidate and specialize both hospitals. (e.g. women & children’s only at SRH, cardiac only at OSH.) The two hospitals compete for the same patient base. Many have witnessed staffing on certain floors that routinely outnumbered the census. Many have witnessed floors temporarily shuttered and staff moved between floors and even facilities. It is no secret and the below reports should come as no surprise.
Billy Guice hired LaPorte, an accounting and consulting firm in New Orleans, to conduct a “strategic analysis” of the entire health system. Below we are posting excerpts from the executive summary. They recommend,at a minimum, consolidation of the two facilities. This would obviously reduce staffing – which is among other recommendations.
The report notes that Signing River is highly overstaffed compared to similar facilities. This is noted in the report as “efficiency.” Just to bring Singing River up to “average efficiency” the report recommends reducing 332 full-time equivalents. This is over 10% of the labor force.
This is not intended to induce panic or fear or rumor. These are demonstrable facts. You will need to digest them on your own. Keep in mind that the Jackson County Board of Supervisors will soon be hiring a “turnaround firm” as part of the settlement deal. Will that firm reach the same conclusions as LaPorte?
Ask yourself why the “turnaround firm” was never implemented at SRHS as originally intended. Why after all this time and struggling, will the firm only start work after a settlement deal has been ordered by the courts? The decisions such a firm will reach will likely be unpopular with hospital employees, who might wish to fight for what is rightfully theirs (answers and accountability) in court.