Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Layoffs hit UTMB prison healthcare

Reports the Statesman's Mike Ward:

More than 300 prison medical staff members will get layoff notices beginning today in a budget-cutting step some fear could imperil care to thousands of Texas prisoners and land the state back in court.

The announcement is expected to ramp up concerns over a growing state budget crisis — and how Texas can continue to pay for a massive prison health care system that gobbles tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars each year.

In an e-mail to employees Tuesday, Dr. David Callender, president of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said 363 correctional managed health care employees at 86 of Texas' 112 prisons will be notified that their jobs will be eliminated July 21. ...

Though the e-mail did not specify who will be laid off, legislative leaders said they were told it would include nurses and other trained medical professionals.

MORE: From the Galveston Daily News, "The cuts represent 10.6 percent of the 3,418 employees who work in the medical branch’s correctional care program."



Anonymous said...

ARG!!! This frustrates me!!!

On 7-21-09 Grits said,
"TDCJ incarcerated more than 10,950 offenders over the age of 55 as of Aug. 1, 2008, the agency reported; about 5,000 of them are not serving time for so-called "3g" (violent) offenses. (More than 60% of offenders in TDCJ's institutional division are eligible for parole, according to the agency's annual statistical report - pdf, p. 15). Paroling those offenders, said the agency, would save the state more than $20 million annually in off-site medical costs, at a minimum, as well as reduce the burden on internal TDCJ medical systems.

In addition, paroling 5,000 offenders would save money by allowing the state reduce its reliance on private prison contractors:

Based on the most recent LBB offender population projections ... a reduction of 5,000 incarcerated offenders could eliminate the need for contracted temporary capacity, currently 1,899 beds, reducing current agency expenditures by approximately $29 million annually.

So when Texas legislators start talking about budget cuts, TDCJ has identified $49 million per year the state could cut from the prison budget that should be discussed well before anyone starts talking about reducing staff pay."

Just seems there are some common sense solutions that are not being considered... and it is too bad, because 363 people are about to loose thier jobs, and TX inmates' health care will suffer. But ultimatly the State of TX will be the biggest looser when it gets the pants sued off of it, because an inmate suffered from substanard medical care.

Anonymous said...

Telford is losing 5 (one of the ladies has been there for over 15 years so they are not using senority to cut positions).

Wonder what criteria they used?

It's a shame, poor politics and ineffective management has resulted in this situation.

Anonymous said...

The absolutely inexcusable near-sighted actions of the legislature will definitely bring prison health care under the microscope yet again. The additional $33 million needed to avoid the job cuts is a pittance compared to what will soon burden the taxpayers of the state when the feds mandate staffing to match that of California. Nice job, Austin! I hope voters show you the bricks in November. Good riddance. What a joke.

sunray's wench said...

Even if some of the 10,000 inmates who are over 55 years of age are serving 3g sentences, they should still be considered for parole once they reach that age, as long as they have served for example, 10 years or the 1/4 time that other inmates must serve. The key word is "considered". No one is advocating a mass release of all inmates over 55. Simply review their conduct while incarcerated, their medical history (ie, how much they have already cost the state to keep) and make the decision based on that.

Anonymous said...

The problem is many of thse are "sex offenders" and the public has been scared into thinking they will all rush out to re-offend. The fact is , they have the second lowest recidivism rate after murder.
Murderers are released more frequently and don't have to be supervised for the rest of their lives.For heaven's sake someone set the public straight. There are blind offenders , amputees and end-stage cancer and liver patients that are costing an enormous amount of money and guess what ? We taxpayers are footing the bill for this lunacy ! God bless the Legislators, they need it!

Anonymous said...

Diabetics, High Blood pressure, chronic care - where you take meds daily. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not believe so....they pay $3 one time and that is it. If it is a related issue the cost is FREE. Meds...FREE.

They have the best medical care for chronic care.

Surgery - $3
Optometrist & Glass $3
Dental $3

They are not billed enough to even pay for the wholesale cost of their medications.

Change this and UTMB may be able to balance their budget.

Anonymous said...

As on of the employees who received a RIF notice yesterday, I am disgusted by the lack of care from Senior leaders in UTMB CMC. They laid off 363 frontline staff employees and of course, did not lay off any Senior Leaders. Do you really need 2 AVP of Operations, 2 Nursing Directors,the list goes on. I believe there are 21 Senior Leaders...... is that really cost effective ?

sunray's wench said...

Anon @ 4.11 ~ nothing is FREE as you put it. The inmate pays $3 per incident, and their family pay the rest through taxes.

Anonymous said...

(As yet another one who was RIFed this past week); Who in business, in their right mind leaves "double dippers" and senior leadership who are within 2-5 years of retirement and maxing out salaries to reduce their budget??? I have serious questions about the criteria that was supposedly used to pick the RIFs. We were told Seniority, Military service, Evaluations and Disciplinaries. Anyone else told differently? how about someone left with a job with less than 6 months service in?-well how does THAT happen?? AND in our Town Hall meeting held by Owen Murry BEFORE the Rifs; when ask why not raise the $3.00 co-pay??, it was totally poo-pooed upon by him,and he said "it really wouldn't make any difference"..REALLY...MY calulator says different...and why not raise it?? is that money going somewhere we don't know about??? Or is it NOT being charged in the 1st place??

Anonymous said...

I have serious questions about the criteria that was supposedly used to pick the RIFs. We were told Seniority, Military service, Evaluations and Disciplinaries. Anyone else told differently? how about someone left with a job with less than 6 months service in?-well how does THAT happen??

To answer your questions....... The RIF first criteria was need. (or so I was told) Then it went to Military Service, Performance Evaluations,Disciplinaries and finally tenure.

Could someone remain who had only been employed for 6 months ? YES

The double dippers should have been the first to go. How dare leaders such as Paul Strunk, in the Houston District,retire and then be rehired the next day. Why would Senior Leaders allow that to happen ? I am sure there are more double dippers, but that is one that I know.

It is sad that the so called Senior leaders talk about Servant Leadership.They all should be ashamed of themselves for putting employees in jeopardy by letting other employees go so they can continue to run around the state trying to act like they actually have something to do.

Anonymous said...

Out of 10 employees left(9 let go,just in our dept) 5 are "double dipping" and 2 are within 2-5 years of retirement.- 2 let go, were part timers that had MANY years of service to the state and where not even given the option of going fulltime or lose there job. 2 where saved because of "geographical locations"??, who had less than 2years service in and other people with way more service were NOT given the opportunity of taking those positions. And as for the one who didn't get "the call" to get axed; they have been employed less than 6 months. No evaluation has been done, no military service. And it may be that they just let them go as their 6 month probationary period ends...but UTMB wont even tell that person that. And this person is not paid less than several others with senority and great evals!!

Anonymous said...

@ 5:40 am -Why doesn't that person call someone in their local HR office. The only thing local HR can do is hiring. Everything else has been taken away from them.Since UTMB is not hiring and no one in HR was on the RIF spreadsheet, I am sure one of the three or four can try to get the information.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a disaster. And why should UTMB start following RIF policy now? They never have before. It is based on who you pissed off.

I'd watch like a hawk because you can bet the care is going to be affected.

Anonymous said...

I too am one of the employees that received a RIF notice. I am just short of being vested in my retirement. I was always a company person, but I feel UTMB leadership has lied to us again and again.

As for increasing the offender co-pay, that would not change anything. UTMB did not set that cost. All offender co-pays go into general state funding.

Back to my outrage was just found out today that UTMB will rehire many nursing positions to cover all units, and are giving nursing staff $10,000 pay raises to report to the Estelle Unit! How does this make sense? They can say that it is to ensure continuity of care, but regardless, the prison population for which UTMB cares will suffer greatly from these shortages. Hello "Ruiz v. Estelle", part deux. Prison is punative enough. The inmates' abilities to receive healthcare should not be hindered.

Anonymous said...

My friend who had never had more than a traffic ticket was sentenced in '09 to five years in prison. The charge was theft of $24,000 which he was in process of paying back. Then he got prostate cancer and had to go out of town for approx. three months for treatment. Got behind on the payments and a crooked asst.district attorney along with his buddy, the Judge, seemed to take tremendous joy in sentencing my friend to prison. My friend who is almose 68 yrs. old, has cancer in remission at this time,absolutely no threat to anyone. Yet he is locked up with a five year sentence. Talk about prison overcrowding and costs. This was a hard working man dearly loved by his clients, rescued animals, gave blood regularly until he couldn't after cancer, would do anything in the world for anyone. I would trust this man with my life. We are not talking about some low life person here. However, it is well known that the asst.district attorney has been involved in several shady situations. He is not thought much of by anyone who really knows about him. I would be very afraid to have any involement with this in many people's opinion, very low life Judicial person, Mr. white shirt and tie yet a crook himself. The judicial system is quite scary. I didn't have any idea until this situation happened to my friend. Incidently my friend had no money to pay for a high dollar attorney. All his money had gone trying to pay someone because of a bad investment situation. Go figure. I'm sure this kind of thing has happened to others. I can truly say this scares me and many others to death. Many have no idea what actually goes on with the judicial system.

Anonymous said...

Lets look at the big picture here. Why are we in this mess? Upper management, is the reason. And i mean it started at the top. Did any of those jobs get cut? you have 6 figure management, who some conveniently work from home. A couple, moonlight, at other jobs while collecting a UTMB paycheck. There still here. Loose a few of them and maybe10-20 employees can keep their jobs. They are the ones who let this get too far to begin with. Someone needs to look at UTMB's financials and see where the money went, how it was mismanaged and hold them accountable. But that won't happen. Why?... too many hands in the cookie jar. The only difference between management and the inmates, color of the uniform.

Anonymous said...

The latest I've heard- one unit in South Texas lost 8 staff including 2 RN nurses and dentist. They hired back the dentist. They rif'd one RN only to post another position for an RN and then came along and posted a nurse manager position after rif'ing the assistant nurse manager. But Admin Associates still got the shaft in this area even thought they were the only admin managerial staff on the unit. 2 Practice Managers are now sharing coverage of these 4 units units making them responsible for 5500-6000 offenders after the AA's were rif'd. Now, other admin positions are open because other staff have quit but nothing is posted or even allowing those who were rif'd to reapply for these lesser admin jobs. You've got to be 20% under staffed in order to fill one position. Meaning, if two - three people leave, you'll replace one. But, from what I heard, the #'s didn't add up in Galveston for the number of nursing positions open compared to actual numbers. That was almost 400 positions not accounted for. If they would have looked at everything first no one would have had to be rif'd at all. All you're doing is making it so much harder on the people left behind. They were already stressed beyond what they should be and you just gave them more work. One P.M. cannot be expected to run two 2900 bed units without losing their sanity or causing them health issues. Also, one manager is always taking over for the district PM and doing his job. What is wrong with this picture. Way too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. And what about the AA in the Houston area that didn't get rif'd because her boss - one of the big wigs, had her title changed so she didn't lose it. He knew the Rif's were coming and saved her, but didn't save anyone else. SS needs to lose his job too along with his "new" administrative manager. UTMB needs to lose the contract with TDCJ and I hope they do look for someone else next year to take over. And one other thing, the $3.00 copay is a joke. Providers and nurses who charge are found to be in the wrong because the offenders claim it is a chronic condition. Since when is acne, athletes feet, and allergies chronic conditions. They pay once and if they EVER have the same diagnosis again, you can't charge them. Come on. When I go to my doctor for the same thing - like my high blood pressure, guess what, I'm charged every single time. Medicines that are available over the counter in the commissary are never bought by offenders when they can get it thru medical free. How's that skin lotion working for your dry skin that we prescribed????? The whole system needs to be revamped. Families send money to offenders thinking they are paying for dental care, or medical visits, and when they call to complain they are surprised that the services are free and the meds are free if prescribed. He's buying food and snacks from the commissary. TDCJ provides 3 hots and a cot every day, free medical care for emergencies and chronic care issues, etc..... and for that person that says that the families of offenders pay taxes too - well so do we!

Anonymous said...

Oh My Goodness. Did you hear the news....UTMB is so short of money and need Government funds that for the past three years they hired an outside consulting group (The Richards Group) to revamp their image with a new logo. Hundreds of thousands wasted dollars to try to make themselves look better. Are you kidding me? Good people layed-off so they can have a new logo. Why are these same people still in charge. They should all be locked up. Give me a break!