Obamacare? 'Reckless spending?' Huntsville Hospital's decision to freeze employee pay...
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Huntsville Hospital's decision to freeze the pay of about 8,000 employees in Madison and Morgan counties has stirred an online debate about the hospital's aggressive expansion strategy and the controversial Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Alabama Live.
#1 Jun 4, 2013
Huntsville AL - Some big bad changes are in store for over 18,000 Huntsville Hospital employees.
An email from Chief Executive Officer David Chamberlame was sent out last Friday informing everyone that raises for the next ten years have been cancelled and insurance premiums would be going up tenfold, effective immediately. Sen Mo Brookes says the changes are related to the rising cost of ObamaCare and increasing non-white patient volume. According to Brookes, the middle-class American workforce makes up the single largest cost percentage when it comes to running this hospital, and they are applying to the immigration department for thousands of H1B visas to bring in low-wage Mexican and Chinese doctors and nurses.
“People, salaries, and benefits become one of the few areas where you can really make a difference on your expenses,” he explained. He went on to say that because the hospital is “self-insured” it costs about $1 million a week to insure the employees.“When we spend $1 million a week we have to create a premium plan that brings in $1 million a week so we increased our premiums next year $240 to $360,” he continued.
That number is for each American employee, every month. For the past several years the hospital has given small raises to a few hard working employees, but he says this year that would not be possible and lays the blame squarely on ObamaCare.
“Thirteen to fifteen cents a month already is showing up as a required ObamaCare tax that is a result of that and we expect the costs are going to continue going up they are not going down in anything, except for the CEO’s six-digit salaries,” he said.
Huntsville Hospital reevaluates their situation on a ten-year basis, and CEO Chamberlame says there is never a possibility that these changes will not be permanent.
“When volumes are flat, revenues are down, and our highly qualified CEO salary costs are going up, you have got to do something and that’s really what is precipitating this; and it’s nothing that every non-union hospital in Alabama hasn’t done.”
Below is the text of the email all employees received:
Over the last several years we have not communicated much with you on the issues you are facing. These matters are particularly frustrating because they are not actually the result of actions by ObamaCare. Unfortunately, we have to deal with them peoples. Non-union hospital workers in Alabama have zero control over what they get paid for their services and we expect that their salaries will remain a bullseye target for further cuts for the foreseeable future. Compounding the problem is that our expensive CEO salaries bonuses and benefit packages continue to rise in all areas. Unfortunately for you, there is no reason to believe that the situation will change anytime soon. Union hospitals throughout the country are not currently experiencing our problems and their employees are anticipating there will be even more pay raises for them in the coming years as the healthcare system nationally adjusts to Obama’s “even steven” healthcare plan.
Our next ten-year budget begins July 2013 and our prediction is that we will have zero growth in salary volumes and there will be decreased reimbursement from the federal and state payers for our services because Republican Governor Doctor Robert Bentley refused to participate in ObamaCare. All of this leads us to little choice but to continue to manage your expenses prudently and look for ways to reduce your employees salaries.
Salaries and benefits make up 11% of our operational costs. We have struggled with how to further reduce your costs even with all of the salary cost cutting initiatives we have already implemented. Therefore, we have no choice but to address your exorbitant compensation and benefit costs in order to balance the next ten-year's budget and to protect CEO jobs. Effective July 2013, we are making changes to benefits and compensation.
#2 Jun 4, 2013
We will hold salaries below the current level or maybe even much less for the coming budget years. We will not increase employee pay, with no economic adjustments or merit increases whatsoever. The CEO bonus incentive remains in effect for payment in the ten-year budget as long as established goals are met by you lower level employees.
Our health insurance costs are estimated to increase from $143,000 this past year to over $143,500 next year. Overall, Huntsville Hospital pays 5% of that amount, while we employees pay 95%. We are totally self insured for these benefits to save us money.
Health insurance premiums are increasing approximately $240 per month to as much as $768 per month which includes the discount for tobacco users. Of this amount, some goes to cover the increased cost of coverage and $1.48 per month is due to the ObamaCare coverage mandates and direct taxes.
We do offer a no cost, no deductible plan than very few employees other than the CEO’s and top-level employees have ever heard of. If you would like more information on that fantastic plan, please go to Helen Waite at the Human Resources Department.
We have compared our retirement plan contribution with other non-union hospitals in Alabama, but not “good” union hospitals across the country. What we found is that Alabama hospitals do not contribute any money whatsoever into a retirement plan unless the employee makes the whole contribution.
Based on what we have found, we will still not offer to make the basic contribution to the retirement plan. At the same time we will be increasing the matching contribution to 150% for the CEO’s. The changes to the retirement plan encourage CEO’s to participate in responsible retirement planning. If the hospital has a spectacular financial year, CEO’s will do very well with their “golden parachute” bonuses. That will have to be decided each year by said CEO’s.
Earned Time Off:
As all of you might have heard, we have a very generous ETO plan for upper management and have been managing ETO to flex our “carpeted area” staffing as our census has gone up over the past several months.
We will continue to have requirements for many of our upper echelon staff to use free paid ETO each month. The only change we will make in the current ETO accrual plan is that we will accrue even more ETO while we are taking ETO. This change will begin with the pay period starting July 2013. Any CEO ETO we have already earned will be doubled or possibly tripled.
I know that any of these changes taken individually are unsettling, so together you all know they are difficult to understand. We will give more specific information to your department head and post comic book formatted documents to help further explain these simple changes, since you’re not smart enough to read the “writing on the wall” and find a better job at Crestwood.
It is a very challenging time for the non-union healthcare industry because of ObamaCare. Uppity black people in our country want all the fabulous upscale services and life saving technologies the rich white republicans receive when their black gangsta wannabe sons get shot in the head with a stolen 9mm. The problem is that rich Republicans don’t want to pay you poor white lower middle class healthcare workers to provide those services to said blacks. We will get through this... we shall overcome. Free ObamaCare at last... free at last. And you’re paying for it.
We don’t think that these changes will be sufficient. These decisions were easy to make and we recognize that they impact you and your families and we wish we did not have to make such difficult choices... but... oh well. We encourage you to keep up your good work if you wanna have a job next week.
The Huntsville Times - bringing you the facts three times a week
“we fired our fat drunk & stupid employees and bought a computer”
#5 Aug 13, 2013
Julius, if you work at HH, you won't be much longer.
Maybe you can get a new job at Crestwood... or wiping butts in a nursing home. We own this town and write the rules. If you don't like it, McDonalds is always hiring you blacks. And don't forget too take your sheboon sisters with ya!
#6 Oct 5, 2013
Thank God for the Teabaggers leading the Repubican party for shutting down this evil obammycare healthcare plan. Great job! They should also shut down all government programs that I don't want or need. I don't need their government handouts, because I'm doing just fine living off my families investments.
Chickens in America are injected with all kinds of antibiotics, and the blacks love eating their fried chicken. The blacks are getting more than enough antibiotics from their fried chicken, and don't want or need free obammycare paid for by the hard working taxpayers. White people should not have to pay for the blacks healthcare. If they want free health insurance, they should move back to africa where all them blacks get free healthcare.
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