The quest to sell Prince William Hospital continues unabated, and until recently, rather secretly. One concerned employee recently sent an anonymous email to all hospital staff recently, spurring hospital administrators to hold a series of forums with employees who are concerned about their jobs and the quality of the hospital. In these forums the email was addressed by the CEO, who validated the contents of the email by running it down point by point and responding to the concerns it raised. He vaguely addressed potential job losses, downplayed the Severance Packages and Stay Bonuses that executives are negotiating for themselves, and alluded that all employees would be looked after. Despite these assurances, many of them don’t seem impressed.
Concerns about financial transparency and the possibility that management is trying to promote a picture of the hospital’s finances in an unduly negative light in order to support efforts to dump the institution are deeply disquieting. So much so that two of the seven clinical directors resigned this past week. Whether a sale goes forward or not, residents in the area should be concerned that the recent actions of management might potential impact the quality of care at Prince William Hospital and the future of this institution.
Here’s the email that went out to employees:
Your job is in serious jeopardy.
The time has come to stand up, ask questions, and speak your mind before it’s too late. PWHS “leadership” is using the current financial crisis as an excuse to sell your community hospital, putting your livelihood and your family’s wellbeing at risk. There are 63 other community hospitals in Virginia, also currently ‘in the red’, but they are not desperately searching for a “partner” (a BUYER). ”Merger” and “partnership” are just euphemisms in the case of PWHS. PWHS will be SOLD and TAKEN OVER. Following the failure of the INOVA merger, it is clear that there was no alternative strategy in place for the future of PWHS, no ‘Plan B’, financial or otherwise. Selling-off the organization and handing it as well as the challenges it faces over to outsiders is the extent of the vision and capabilities of current “leadership”.
This “leadership” has failed their employees and the community they claim to serve.
This “leadership” will profit from this sale and are receiving ample time to get their professional affairs in order. They are arranging for severance packages and bonuses BEFORE the sale while the rest of PWHS is left in the dark.
This “leadership” WANTS to facilitate a sale, not only for the lucrative severances and bonuses they’ll receive, but to raise their own professional profile and accomplishments.
PWHS employees need to stand up and ask why an independent PWHS is not being considered as a viable possibility.
Why is there no financial accountability or fiscal transparency as seen in other non-profit organizations, which publish and share their audited financial statements?
Should the simple statement of “we need to grow with a parking garage and private patient rooms” and lip-service about the economic crisis be enough justification to sell your livelihood?
TELL PWHS “leadership” that they need to provide employees and the community with financial facts, not just rhetoric and sales-pitches.
Ask your supervisors and directors what a sale or “merger” would likely mean to your department and your job, especially those in non-clinical positions, such as Information Systems, Patient Access and Scheduling.
Some senior clinical staff may be hired immediately and be permitted to remain in-place while others will be ‘initially replaced’ (FIRED) and have their jobs filled by agency, contractors, ‘travelers’ and those already employed by the buying entity who are temporarily assigned to facilitate the transformation.
If you’re not an executive with the ‘golden parachute’ of a severance package guaranteed to you, the only ‘bonus’ and benefit you will be eligible for after losing your job post-merger or sale is the legally guaranteed right of continuing health and dental coverage – the right to continue paying for 100% of the cost of your insurance out of your own pocket, an amount that you should make yourself aware of for your own information.
The people responsible for this situation need to be held accountable.
“Save PWHS” is an alliance made up of employees and system associates, some with firsthand experience with mergers and sales at other healthcare organizations, and more than 50 years of PWHS service between us.
Our intention is to help keep PWHS an independent, non-profit community organization. Please write us from your home email address to pledge your support or find honest answers to your questions.
You can make a difference. Ask questions. Speak your mind. Protect yourself, your job, the family you support and your community hospital.
“Golden parachutes” for senior management while the institution is in some financial difficulty, declining employee morale and the departure of a significant number of senior medical personnel, and rumors of some tremendous weaknesses in the security of their information technology resources are all troubling issues that should be addressed quickly. From an investor point of view (I’m not an investor in the hospital, by the way) you’d think you’d want to see them improve the value of the institution before looking for a buyer. Instead, it seems some are trying to weaken it so they can justify the need to sell the institution.
Save PWHS, indeed.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.