Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dear Mr. Adams...

I am in receipt of your message of today announcing that there would not be 600, or even 900 positions, but now 1200 positions were eliminated today by Kaiser Northern California.

Quite bluntly, sir, I find this action taken by you and by KPNC to be reprehensible, and I would humbly request that you submit your immediate resignation, and said resignation should include not just yourself, but the entirety of your management team.

Based on the events of the last two weeks, I have to assume that you think that the rank-and-file of KPNC is collectively deaf, blind, stupid, or some combination of the three. You must remember, sir, that KPNC announced, just last weekend, a year-to-date net income of $1.1 Billion dollars, a figure which was improved by $500 Million from the same period last year. This was achieved despite a net loss in membership, and holding capital spending at a steady level relative to last year.

Any fair-minded individual would look at those numbers and believe that KPNC is well-positioned in terms of income, expenses, and staffing to handle the next six months, having already weathered last year's stormy economic conditions. The normal CEO would take those results, be very happy with them, and make damn sure that those results repeat themselves in the next two quarters.

Unfortunately, you evidently believe that a profit of $1.1B is not enough, and you have decided to make more profit for the allegedly not-for-profit KPNC, and you have now decided to make that profit by cutting out the very people who are responsible for making sure your organization is profitable.

Make no mistake, Mr. Adams: The main reason that KPNC is a profitable organization is its people, not its management. It is the people of KPNC that provide the services for which our patients - our customers - pay good money. By cutting so many positions, you are cutting the very lifeblood of the company in order to make sure that KPNC management people, like yourself, continue to have nice, cushy positions. By cutting these positions in EVS, you have guaranteed that the Medical Centers and office buildings will be less sanitary than before. By cutting unit assistant positions, you have guaranteed that communications between the various levels of staff will no longer be as seamless. By cutting nursing assistant positions, you have guaranteed that patients in the hospitals will get far less attentive care. And by cutting transcriptionists and coders, you have guaranteed that KPNC will receive less revenue then they already might, unless you pay people (contractors) to cover those necessary and critical positions in the Revenue Cycle.

Mr. Adams, how many senior managers in Oakland got pink slips today?

How many senior managers in Oakland could stand to lose about 20% to 30% of their already-extravagant salaries and still be able to make their rent or their mortgage payments? And how many jobs would a cut such as that save?

How many senior managers in Oakland could work a four-day week and still have the company continue on as it is doing?

Mr. Adams, when you were hired as the President of KPNC back in April of 2008, you made a big deal about the fact that you started your career as an ED Nurse in Atlanta, and that you have been able to navigate your way through the management ranks while still remembering what it is like to be in the rank-and-file of the hospital. You continue to keep on that air with your "Keepin' It Real" series - what a farce.

It is now obvious to almost anyone watching that you have plainly forgotten what it is like to work for a living.

Your actions today belie your true interest. You and your management team have colluded with a corrupt union to cut jobs in an economic downturn, even though your company is reporting a level of profitability that would qualify your photograph on the front cover of Forbes. Just on that basis, sir, if you had one shred of decency or honor, you would resign your position forthwith, for it is obvious that you have neither the fortitude nor the integrity to conduct the business or management affairs of KPNC in the manner to which Henry Kaiser would have approved.

On your watch, the Labor-Management Partnership - which helped save KPNC back in the late 1980's - has been shattered.

On your watch, you have allowed a corrupt international union to trample upon the very basic organizational rights which Henry Kaiser insisted upon in the 1950's for his workforce.

On your watch, the morale and spirit of KPNC employees, which enables KPNC to remain at the top of performance and quality surveys despite its lower costs, has plummeted to lows not seen since the 1986 strike.

On your watch, Kaiser has become a hospital, and is no longer an avocation. Your employees used to care about their jobs; now about all they care about is punching a time clock.

On your watch, management has actively colluded with the union in order to eliminate union jobs, without any input at all on the part of the affected employees.

For those reasons above, Mr. Adams, it would be best for KPNC, its members, and its employees, if you and your management team were to tender your collective resignations, as soon as possible.

I close, sir, with the words of Oliver Cromwell, whom Leo Amery quoted to Neville Chamberlain in 1940:

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."

Your pal,


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