News & Events

Shame on John O’Brien For Cutting Staff & Services To Pay for UMMMC Crimes and Misdemeanors

We are outraged and appalled by the recent news reports of the hefty sanctions and the undisclosed millions of dollars UMMMC management must pay for their unseemly scam to deceive the public and insurers though their bone marrow program. Visit the MNA web page and facebook page to view copies of these articles. Worse still, we now know that these indiscretions are what is driving the hospital’s recently announced plan to slash jobs and sell off our home care & hospice service, jeopardizing the economic and professional well being of 50 of our members and hundreds of other employees, with more layoffs to come. They are doing this while sending us carefully worded propaganda, as well as spending untold thousands on print and radio ads touting a false rationale, that this all about cost control under health reform.

Here are the facts:

  • The hospital has not been losing money. They posted a 30 million profit last year and another $120 million in profit the two previous years.
  • Their performance last year had nothing to do with operations of the hospitals and home health service. Here is what John O’Brien told the Worcester Business Journal two weeks before announcing his massive layoff: “Though hospitals are facing pressure from insurers, government and businesses to reduce costs, the UMass system’s five hospitals were not the problem in 2011. For the most part, they met or slightly exceeded revenue projections while trimming spending on expenses and supplies.”
  • The lower profits resulted from poor investment decisions and business practices. Again, quoting from the Worcester Business Journal: “For UMass, the problem was a $29.7 million swing in its investment portfolio, which ended the year down $10 million the first such loss in years combined with a deficit in its formerly profitable health ventures arm. UMass Memorial Health Ventures provides lab testing, imaging and other services to hospitals and medical groups in several states, O’Brien said.” The venture they are referring to is precisely the one cited by the Attorney General.
  • Cutting home health services makes no sense under the new health reform law — Under the new law, hospitals benefit financially and can lower costs by properly managing patients at home to prevent hospitalizations and to reduce hospital admissions. They are doing this to pay off their fines and penalties. Further, there is no justification for any cuts in services and staff as we are all struggling to deliver care under increasingly strenuous conditions. Patients shouldn’t pay the price for their illegal behavior.

Now the hospital is placing ads demanding that unions “partner” with them, and making allusions to the need for all of us to cut our pension benefit to pay for their crimes and misdemeanors. Here is our response: we can’t partner with an administration we don’t trust. Instead, we are 2,000 nurses who are standing together and uniting to protect our patients, our practice and our families.

Further, we demand that management provide a full accounting of the monies they have paid to insurers as a result of this scandal and information on any other schemes undertaken by this arm of the UMMMC system. We also expect an apology from management to all employees and the public for this blight on our medical center’s reputation.

As more layoffs are planned, please stay tuned for additional updates, and for notices about dates and locations for upcoming meetings we will be scheduling to keep you fully informed.