Sunday, November 20, 2016

Breier Flattens Gentiva Employee Retirement Match

Strange Tony,
Kindred struck the deal with Gentiva expecting to save and make more money.  Two years ago Kindred President Ben Breier set the expectation.  "Synergies expected to be north of $70 million at the end of year two of the transaction will be immediate — will be meaningfully accretive to our earnings."

Breier announced in his recent earnings call "on the Gentiva deal, we achieved $91 million of synergies, a savings at the high end of our already aggressive expectations." 

That aggression completely wiped out Gentiva employees 401k match for 2017. How much will executive bonuses rise from stiffing employees?  That information will be available in April.

If anyone feels run over this Thanksgiving it might have been Ben Breier on his Synergy bulldozer.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Kindred's Hollow Promises to Keep Teammates Informed

Strange Tony,

Kindred President Ben Breier opened Kindred's Q3 earnings call with his usual remark :  "Let me start as I usually do by extending my deep appreciation on behalf of the entire leadership team to our more than 100,000 teammates across the country. Each day our partners at Kindred work hard to improve the lives of more than 1 million patients we care for annually. The excellent care delivery and clinical outcomes we generate are the direct results of their efforts."

Later in the call he said, "the most important thing for us was that when we made this announcement yesterday, we wanted our employees, our teammates, our partners to be the first ones to hear it, not anybody else. So in terms of process and things that have become public, it was very important to me, and to our Board, and to the rest of our management team that we treat our employees the right way by making sure that they knew what was happening before anybody else did. And we're going through that process here internally at Kindred, and our folks are working their way through that."

How many of Kindred's 100,000 teammates heard about the company's strategic shift and dismal financial results from Ben Breier?  I read the release Monday evening and am still waiting for any internal news from my employer.  Wall Street analysts heard long before our local group of Kindred employees.

One could say why would hospice or home health employees need to know?  Answer:  Staff at our site have already been asked about the news by area nursing home companies.  Kindred employees could look informed or ignorant.  It was up to us to be informed.  Management delivered our staff a goose egg of information.

As for communication there was one telling interchange between an analyst and Breier.  The analyst asked how Breier or the company would define a mutually beneficial outcome for the nursing home division sale.  Breier replied, "Kindred's shareholders will have to respond to what that definition of mutually beneficial for us is."  Sadly, Breier may have a career in politics.

For the first time Breier spoke about premium pay rates for RN's across Kindred's business lines.  That's a new development, not at our site, but in the conversation with Wall Street's finest. Brier's opening pander to employees is not new.  Neither is the hollow promise to keep employees informed of key executive decisions.  The lesson is employees will have to listen to quarterly earnings calls to actually hear strategic information from Kindred's C-Suite.  Otherwise we're kept in the dark. 

Anonymous (from Kindredful Q3)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Kindred Board Member's Stock Award

Strange Tony,

Kindred announced a new board member.  Dr. Lynn Simon is a C Suite occupant with Community Health Systems, a for-profit hospital company.  Kindred loaded Dr. Simon's pocketbook with nearly $150,000 in restricted stock.  She only has to last a year for that stock to vest. 

Dr. Simon joined Community Health Systems in November 2010 when the company's stock price stood at $32 per share.  It's now $5.50.  CHS expanded via buyouts and borrowings the last few decades.  A downturn in business sent CHS' finances reeling.  Healthcare has become unaffordable even for many with health insurance.

CHS is trying to retrench by selling off assets (hospitals and other affiliates) to reduce debt.  Kindred shed unprofitable LTACs a few months ago.  Rumors have it more shedding is on the way.  It's not clear if it's facilities, headcount or both.

What percent of Kindred at Home employees make $141,000 a year?  How many former Gentiva employees have no retirement match for 2017 under Kindred?  How many Kindred at Home employees will have their pittance of a raise eaten up by increased benefits cost/reduced benefits coverage?

It's a bifurcated world where people at the top can only "perform" if there are massive incentive structures in place, while people at the bottom are "thanked" for their hard work only to learn later executives took away another important benefit with no explanation.  Gentiva did this with a silent PTO reduction.  Kindred made it darn near impossible for Gentiva employees to know if they had a retirement match at all in 2016, before ditching the benefit altogether for 2017.

Dr. Simon's nearly $150,000 prize will come available on 11-2-2017 after Kindred at Home President David Causby's $1 million bonus is excreted on 8-1-2017.  Who knew staying employed until a specific day was a marker of outstanding performance?   How many employee retirement matches would $1.15 million fund?  That's a question this board crew won't be asking.

Anonymous from Executive Enriching Kindred

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kindred Stock Plummets after Q3 Earnings Announcement


Kindred announced a major strategic shift and associated write downs which resulted in a GAAP loss from continuing operations of $671 million for the third quarter.  The company plans to exit its nursing home business.  Kindred said it would exit its skilled nursing facilities due to "labor cost challenges."  I guess those people aren't willing to work for peanuts.

Kindred President Ben Breier said, "We expect approximately half of Kindred’s earnings before interest and income taxes (“EBIT”) to come from Kindred at Home, the nation’s largest home health, hospice and community care provider."  

As for enhancing shareholder value Kindred's stock is down over 50% from April.  This cannot be good for long suffering Gentiva employees who've been responsible for a third of Kindred's EBITDAR.  More top management attention is not what hospice employees or the people we serve need.

What future benefit cuts await for 2017?  What micro-raises, if any, can employees expect for the coming year?   I have a funny feeling my fellow hospice employees are waking up to our one sided relationship with Kindred.  I wonder how many will exit soon?

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kindred's "Optimize" Means Sell at a Loss


Kindred sold twelve long term acute care hospitals to Curahealth for $27.5 million in an optimatization move.  The company will write down $99 million to $109 million in assets, netting a $37 million future income tax benefit.  Even after the tax break for selling facilities at a loss Kindred will be $34.5 million to $44.5 million in the hole on the dozen LTACs.  Management can spin it as a win, but it's clearly a loss.

What does this latest financial hit mean for the lowly employee?  How much worse will Kindred benefits become in order for executive pay to grow?  We'll know sometime in November.

Anonymous from Optimized Kindred

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kindred Pays Record CIA Fine


Just in case you missed it.  The Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services announced:

Kindred Health Care, Inc., the nation's largest provider of post-acute care, including hospice and home health services, has paid a penalty of more than $3 million for failing to comply with a corporate integrity agreement (CIA) with the Federal Government, Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson announced today.

It is the largest penalty for violations of a CIA to date, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) said.

The record penalty resulted from Kindred's failure to correct improper billing practices in the fourth year of the five-year agreement. OIG made several unannounced site visits to Kindred facilities and found ongoing violations.

The message from on high is to grow and there's significant pressure to admit patients.  It's been that way for years, under both Gentiva and Kindred.

CIA-required audits performed by Kindred's internal auditors in 2013, 2014, and 2015 found that the company and its predecessors had failed to implement policies and procedures required by the CIA and that poor claims submission practices had led to significant error rates and overpayments by Medicare.

Kindred was billing Medicare for hospice care for patients who were ineligible for hospice services or who were not eligible for the highest level and most highly paid category of service, OIG said.

That level would be general inpatient care or GIP.

A higher up shared the company refunded over $1 million to Medicare.  That fits with the over $3 million penalty as the government levels treble damages.  So that's a $4 million hit, all of it due to bad management.

I wonder if this will impact Kindred at Home President David Causby's $1 million bonus due September 2017?  He became Gentiva's COO in October 2013.  That means Causby was "leading the day-to-day operations of our business" for all but ten months of the period covered in the settlement.

Meeting admission criteria and accurate billing are critical day-to-day operations. For much of the review period Causby was the accountable leader.

Anonymous (from Kindred at Home)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yet Another Visit from Kindred VP of Some Sort


Our hospice site had another visit from a Kindred high up. I offer coaching from their recent visit, plus comments shared from other Kindred hospices. 

1.  "Pick up the pace" & "Close hard"

Census drives revenue, plain and simple.  Any recognition of excellent service meant nothing to the hierarchy of number obsessed executives.  Executive exhortations are barked out in a manner based on their unchecked assumptions.  My co-workers are already working hard, doing their best, with love, care and passion.  What might they feel pressured to do to meet management's numbers expectations?  Executives cared not the consequences as long as patient headcount rose. 

2.  "Senior leaders love us the same way our nurse assistants love their patients."

Our nurse assistants don't take things away from patients, like senior executives did with PTO, health insurance and retirement benefits.  All three benefits have been reduced in the last few years by Gentiva/Kindred executives.  One is slated for elimination, if it hasn't already disappeared.  That's the company retirement match.

I do see the love shown Gentiva COO/Kindred at Home President David Causby in his serial $1,000,000 bonus opportunities.

The company does treat us like our site treats our nurse assistants (overworked, underpaid and at best underappreciated)  Local management consistently tells our NAs they are the low men/women on the totem pole.

3.  "Your site makes the company a lot of money."

Never have they shared how the monstrous amount of money our site made the company comes back to those of us doing the actual revenue generating work.  I assume this money ends up as bonuses for people up the chain.  We, the people supposedly being "Taken Care of", aren't seeing any of our monstrous profits.

4.  "Get it together folks.  Census matters.  Profit matters."

Apparently employees need to be motivated from above to work harder, jump higher, and recruit more patients in order to save the jobs of people sitting on either side of our chair.  It was fitting that barbecue was served given our site is under performing.

I've never heard a sacrifice senior management has made to keep things going in difficult times.  They show up, bark out their prized financial metrics, launch a few platitudes, rarely offer a sincere thank you,  readily dispense brow-beatings, and move on.  It's a relief when I can exit the building.  Kindred executives have a way of using up all the oxygen.  

A few never bothered to ask my actual role at our hospice.  I've been called nurse and social worker and I'm neither.  When Kindred executives leave breathing and sphincters can return to normal.  Seeing a patient or family member is the balm for exposure to toxic leaders, as is hearing from other dedicated hospice workers.  Thanks to Generic Hospice readers who e-mailed me their experiences.

Anonymous (from Causby's baby)