If Hospital Workers Ran Highland…

This article is reprinted from the Speak Out Now healthcare newsletter at Kaiser and Highland Hospitals in Oakland, CA.

Alameda Health System CEO James Jackson recently sent out a memo that AHS is facing a budget gap of $100 million for the fiscal year, and needs to close the gap by June of this year. To solve this, AHS is hiring FTI Consultants to “identify opportunities to gain labor expense efficiencies and program optimization.”

But without much digging it seems that some of the biggest inefficiencies are board members’ salaries (they each make >$500,000/year). Plus, the consulting fee for firms like FTI can be hundreds of thousands of dollars/year, adding to the pile of unnecessary financial costs. And let’s not forget Highland’s preference for hiring travel RNs, who have been shown to make significantly more than staff nurses, but have less stability and security. Or what about chronic understaffing, which leads to higher turnover and associated costs to train new hires?

This is just the low hanging fruit, free of charge. Ask any employee of AHS, and they are likely to be able to name many ways our work could be done more efficiently and safely for patients.

What’s more, the company hired to cut costs, FTI, has been involved in running misinformation campaigns for multiple oil and gas companies to promote the use of fossil fuels. So it’s clear they’ll do whatever they need to serve the firms they work for, regardless of the cost on human health or the planet. So why are we trusting them to help our hospital? We, the people who actually do the work to make the hospital run, know what’s best.