This is an absolute shame and disgrace. Hospice of Chattanooga is a type of care that is profoundly needed for patients and families in the time of their greatest need - the end of a life and care for a loved one. My family was dearly touched and affected by the excellent care and concern for my mother that passed away two years ago this month. I could not have imagined not having them. These great people were at her bedside with us when she was dying, hugging, crying and kissing her. Where do you get that kind of dedication? It takes a special person who is dedicated and anointed just for such a job. Not any person can do such. I've even became friends with one of the staff.
Also, to "out-source" a department to a firm in Chicago . . . . just who does that benefit? It benefits someone in Chicago - not taxpayers and people of our area who need jobs and support families. I get sick and tired of this "out-sourcing" of jobs especially out of our region. Just makes someone else in our community lose their job.
And what's wrong with a competitor? It just makes one step up to the plate even more. Every business has a competitor. I work at Erlanger. We have to compete with Memorial and Parkridge. It's just part of being a business.
Hospice of Chattanooga is needed, needed with the proper staffing of all care and for all jobs to remain here in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas.
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I have worked with Hospice of Chattanooga since 1995 and my employment ended on July 6, 2012 after a reduction in my pay and vacation time. I normally work for the After Hours Team . I work 104 hours in a two-week period. I work from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and go out in the middle of the night taking care of patients' needs and offer support to dying patients and their families. Just like the postman, no matter what the weather is, the nighttime RNs visit patients no matter what kind of weather we are having or where the patients live.
Under Hospice's cutback plan, I would continue to work 104 hours in a two-week period (the job didn't change, only the pay) but will only get paid for 69 hours at my base rate, the other 35 hours at $2/hour. (the same as a waitress but without tips) and will only accrue vacation time on 69 hours. Under the new cutback plan, I would lose 2/3 of my pay which wasn't much to begin with for an RN. I was left no option but to resign my position. My husband is currently laid off and my income is all we have. Thank God I work a parttime job that I could fall back on. Some of my co-workers were not so lucky.
It is hard to grow with a company, giving your heart and soul only to watch it be destroyed in less than two years. When the new CEO took over, priorities became all about donations and money. The company my co-workers and I gave our all to was once a company whose priorities was the patients and our community. Interestingly enough senior management was not affected financially by the cutback plan, only the staff. This is not the Hospice of Chattanooga I once found pride in.
Debbie Headrick, RN
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Sounds like a bitter ex-employee above, as well as the one who shared all of Hospice of Chattanooga’s business and emails with the Chattanoogan for the article published over the weekend. It saddens me that anyone loses their job, but to share personal company information and throw your previous employer to the dogs says a lot about your character, and looks like Hospice of Chattanooga may be better off without you. Negativity spreads like a poison.
It saddens me that the company has had to lay off employees. But fact is, it happens. I’ve been laid off before, as have many other people. It’s reality. When a company is losing money, something has to give, otherwise the company will go under. It’s common sense. I don’t agree with the “big guys” still bringing in the big bucks while letting employees go. But, that goes for any company. The big guys are always taken care of, unfortunately…whether they deserve it or not. I have met and talked with Clark Taylor many times and do believe he has the best interest at heart for the company.
I’m sure those layoffs were not personal and it was about what is best for that company. Of course, it is about making money. That’s common sense too. If a company is not making money, where do you think your paycheck will come from? If a company is not mindful about its spending and what money is coming in, what do you think will happen if that continues long term? My guess is the company will go under and no one will have a job.
Here’s to Hospice of Chattanooga and wishing them all the best as they continue to change and grow.
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Perhaps you should read what Mrs. Headrick wrote before labeling her a “bitter ex-employee.” If she was in fact bitter about the situation, it is understandable considering the fact that she found herself having to make a decision to leave a job she loved after 18 years. She wasn’t laid off. She clearly says she made the choice to resign from Hospice of Chattanooga.
Yes, I am sure you understand along with many others the effects of being laid off due to budget cuts. I am not quite sure how many people have been in a situation where they feel they have to make a heart breaking choice to leave everything they’ve worked hard for and passionate about after 18 years of dedicated service.
Clark Taylor may be a nice man and I hope the best for the patients and their families in need of Hospice of Chattanooga and will take into consideration Mr. Taylor’s kindness when they are being cared for by a limited staff.
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Upon applying for the college just before the end of high school, I was presented with the statistics for the outlook on medical careers. I was told that medical careers were expected to be excellent through 2010. Seemed like forever. Sure enough, in almost 30 years, I never hunted for
a job, worried about an income, and only filled out job applications as a formality. I made a good salary and had great benefits.
When I began my medical career in 1975 [as a student] at a local hospital, some staff members and a few doctors smoked in treatment rooms. Patients were admitted on Sunday evening to have pre-surgery testing, then they might have their surgery the following Wednesday and stay in the hospital afterwards for a week or more.
Last year my son had a lumbar disc removed, stayed in recovery a few hours, then walked to the car to go home. On any given day you will see patients that have had surgery and other procedures streaming out of the hospital, whereas in the past they would have been admitted. Twenty-four hour admissions have replaced what was once 3-5 days in the hospital. Home health care and recovery are a primary focus. Ancillary facilities for rehab and ongoing recovery are on every corner. Medicine has changed dramatically.If you have not experienced these changes, you have truly been under a large rock.
The last few years I worked, our weekend staff was cut from eight technologists to four, and two of those were senior students. The two of us that were 'seasoned' staff members had close to 50years of experience between us.
Medical advancements have been astronomical, but the ability to provide and maintain that level of care for every member of society is virtually a fairy tale. Although the expectation is there, the reality is limited by our ability as a society to buy, build, operate, upgrade, staff, and maintain all the technology we have developed. An aging population, abuse of and cuts in medicare dollars, as well as a host of other factors make the goal harder and harder to reach.
Beginning in the late seventies, medicare reimbursement changed. Everything was tied to DRG's [Disease Related Groups]. If you were admitted to the hospital for a procedure, that procedure was defined to include certain components and nothing more. Any test or treatment given outside of the DRG was not reimbursed by medicare. Insurance companies followed with their own scrutiny and refusal to pay for what was once 'common' practice and indulgence.
Hospital staff began to be cut and the remaining staff had to learn to do more procedures, and do them more proficiently. Remove waste, streamline techniques, eliminate anything that was not a direct necessity according to guidelines placed before us. Contracts that had been in place with suppliers for decades were now an annual bid process and those who were found to be charging excess for their services and products were left out. Does this sound familiar? Does this sound current? I am still talking about the late seventies and the eighties. Our country is in a medical crisis, and its not over. Every aspect of medical care will be asked to do more with less, work harder for the same pay, and do without all the benefits that were once taken for granted.
Medical careers may not be quite the 'dream' that they once seemed to be. Be honest with yourself, do you know of any legitimate business that has not migrated toward more production with fewer staff, resources, frozen salaries, and declining benefits? Each and every medical facility in our region has been dragged through the media for cuts, shortfalls, layoffs, firings, etc., etc. It's a fact of our health industry. Longevity with an institution is no longer the guarantee that it was decades ago. Remove that from your mind. It doesn't count. Showing up and doing your job is 'normal'. The individual that goes beyond what is on the paper is the new work ethic. Demonstrating excellence over and over is the new golden employee.
What makes anyone think that a non-profit organization would be exempt from the struggles of providing health care? How would a hospice organization escape the increasing pressures of medicare cuts and limitations while facing regular regulatory changes?They can't. For a non-profit organization to thrive, they have to rely on donations and operating on the thinnest line possible. They have to be the leanest.
Hospice of Chattanooga is an organization that I admire deeply. I have benefited from the services and care that only a hospice offers, and they cannot be replaced. I pray for them. I worry about how they will do that vital work while battling the same restraints of every other medical facility and business. It will take an unrelenting stewardship. It will take asking less and giving more. I urge the community to donate, to pray, and to support Hospice of Chattanooga, its staff, and its leadership.