Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kindred's Shameless Executive Compensation Made Public

President Ben Breier received nearly $5.5 million in executive pay.

Kindred at Home President David Causby's pay, fueled by his second $1 million event under Kindred, got over $4.4 million. His first $1 million event came in lump sum cash, the second $1 million was bonus money.

However the oddest compensation went to Kindred CFO Stephen Farber who needed $2.15 million to flee a dangerous neighborhood of millionaires incapable of sharing a driveway.  Kindred's board did not call the police, but instead wrote a check for nearly $500,000 more than Farber paid for the house, throwing in an additional $250,000 in moving expenses (on top of the $110,000 for moving expenses in 2014).

Kindred executives look out after their own.  The other 101,500 employees aren't so lucky.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

No April Fools: Breier Gets $3.5 million in Restricted Stock


Kindred CEO Ben Breier received 283,203 shares of restricted stock on March 24, 2016.  Kindred's stock closed at $12.57 per share on April 1 giving Breier $3.5 million from one portion of his executive compensation package.  That's no April Fool's joke but a sad reflection of misplaced priorities. 

Hospice roots are antithetical to leadership greed which spread like a cancer in the last ten to fifteen years.  Ethically our hospice site is dead, rotting from the head down.  Fortunately, we still have a few people who live and breath the origins of the hospice movement.  When they leave or retire the stink will spread.

The question is how much Ben Breier will have earned in total compensation by then.  We'll get a peek at his 2015 pay soon enough.  The executive money trough is full and overflowing.  I bet the pigs don't even need calling. 

Anonymous (from Dredkin)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kindred's Obsession with Numbers to Grow Exponentially


A Kindred executive once told me data is the only thing that matters, that staff achieve the targeted numbers or they're gone.  That person used intimidation and fear without any understanding that bullying distorted the accuracy of the very data they'd received.

Rather than remove the fear and intimidation, such that people can gain a common understanding of what's happening, this Machiavellian leader's solution to data distortion was to automate data collection as much as possible.  Removing the worker from the data generation chain, then beating them up for unfavorable outcomes is a form of dehumanization.

Kindred is doubling down on their numbers obsession strategy with a new effort.

Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine-learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.

Our hospice has a new predictive service index score for each patient.  I asked an experienced hospice nurse about the PSI score.  They said, "That number is useless."

It feels like management wants to play with numbers rather than talk to hospice clinicians.  The number enables managers to order quantifiable amounts of specific disciplines from the hospice team.  It does not feel like a tool for decision making or resource allocation.  It's a buffer or bumper from having to talk with real hospice professionals about what is going on and what the patient and caregivers truly need.

The "likelihood of future outcomes" is probability which is based on a number of theoretical distributions that rarely exist in the real world.  It reaffirms my belief that Kindred executives, like their Gentiva brethren before them, live in their own world.  It rarely makes contact with the world our hospice team works in.

Anonymous (from Dredkin)  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Kindred Eliminates Employee Turnover Statistic


Kindred's recent annual report filing, known as a 10-K, omitted a key statistic for a company that "takes care of its people."  The annualized employee turnover number was missing.

Oddly Kindred President Ben Breier said little about employees, other than his opening pander, in the February 26 earnings call.  He failed to mention information about employees included in Kindred's 10-K. 


As of December 31, 2015, we had approximately 53,600 full-time and 48,400 part-time and per diem employees. We had approximately 2,900 unionized employees at 25 of our facilities as of December 31, 2015. 

 The market for qualified nurses, therapists, physicians, clinical associates, home health and hospice employees, and other healthcare professionals is highly competitive. We, like other healthcare providers, have experienced difficulties in attracting and retaining qualified personnel such as nurses, certified nurse’s assistants, nurse’s aides, therapists, home health and hospice employees and other providers of healthcare services. Our hospitals and nursing centers are particularly dependent on nurses for patient care. Our Kindred at Home and Kindred Rehabilitation Services divisions continue to seek qualified home health and hospice employees and therapists, respectively, to fill open positions. The difficulty we have experienced in hiring and retaining qualified personnel has increased our average wage rates and may force us to increase our use of contract personnel. We expect to continue to experience increases in our labor costs primarily due to higher wages and greater benefits required to attract and retain qualified healthcare personnel. Salaries, wages, and benefits were approximately 64% of our consolidated revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015. Our ability to manage labor costs will significantly affect our future operating results

Gentiva employees represent 40% of Kindred's total.  The recent earnings call had Kindred President Ben Breier say:

While Kindred at Home now represents about one-third of our revenues, it's approaching half of our consolidated EBIT.

As I mentioned a moment ago, with its capital light profile, Kindred at Home's contribution to the enterprise is approaching half of our consolidated EBIT with the strongest EBIT margin profile among our divisions.

At no point in the report did Kindred cite rising labor costs in home health and hospice.  Here's what the company said:

Home Health
Operating margins increased in 2015 primarily as a result of the Gentiva Merger and related operating efficiencies.

Operating margins increased in 2015 primarily as a result of the Gentiva Merger and related operating efficiencies.

Gentiva employees know what we experienced in 2016 with Kindred's far worse health insurance coverage and more expensive dental and vision insurance.  The company removed employee's prior ability to see the company's contribution to the portion each of us pays for benefits.  Gentiva employees know Kindred eliminated the 401(k) match in 2012 but aren't sure the status of any match for 2016..

The turnover stat disappeared just like the hospice division's policy to pay people fairly and equitably, internally and externally.  This leadership group is committed to former Gentiva employees like a parasite on a host.  They said it:  One third the revenue produces nearly half the EBIT. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Who Do Kindred Execs Appreciate?


Kindred CEO Ben Breier opened yesterday's earnings call with:

"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 the 1 million patients we care for annually. The excellent care delivery and clinical outcomes we generate are the direct results of their efforts."
The 40,000 from Gentiva don't feel the least bit appreciated by the leadership team if they've encountered our benefit reductions for 2016.  I'd be shocked if the other 60,000 feel appreciated given Kindred eliminated their retirement match in 2012.

Recent actions show who the leadership team appreciated.

Kindred's Chief People Officer has not been clear at all with former Gentiva associates on reductions in healthcare, retirement and sick leave benefits.  Kindred recently removed a hospice policy that committed to paying people equitably on an internal and external basis.

CEO Ben Breier talked repeatedly about Kindred's over $300 million in cash flow.  Surely a portion of that could return a 2% retirement match, provide health insurance employees can afford to use and ensure employees are paid fairly and equitably for the work they perform for the company.  It's clear they'd rather pay themselves. 

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Kindred's Best Practices Involve Paper and Multiple Levels of Approval


Gentiva's integration with Kindred nears completion and it feels like a walk back in time.  Many processes, especially those involving human resources, have become more complex and time consuming as Kindred eliminates systems that allowed employees to update their basic payroll, benefit and retirement information.  What used to be done with the click of a mouse and typing a few keys now requires completing multiple paper forms, submitting those in triplicate and waiting for several layers of corporate people to deign their approval.

Kindred's integration has generated 8-10 hours of work per week for me that did not exist under Gentiva.  This clearly is bureaucratic and not value added.  A Kindred executive told our site last week that the human resource integration has been horrific, botched, butchered.  That's exactly what I felt trying to navigate the hazy benefit maze last fall, attempting to complete the myriad of requirements for the wellness incentive (to avoid a health insurance penalty) and working to understand our actual vs. fictional benefits in 2016.

Retirement and sick leave are two of the more puzzling ones for Gentiva folks to understand.  My coworkers and I can't get anyone to give us real answers in either category.   Calls to the contracted out benefit line result in transfers to additional contractors.  Neither group has been able to clarify what should be clear and apparent.  What is the retirement match, if any, and how can staff actually use sick leave for an illness that goes past the first two days of PTO?  Tertiary contractor representatives from T. Rowe Price and UNUM have answered staff questions with "the company has not given us that information."

I said long ago human resources turned into the human abuse department, apparently for strategic purposes.  A Kindred executive finally agreed with me.  I wonder if the "hub" is short for hubris. 

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Anniversary Celebration: Causby Collects, Wallace and Riedman Sell


The anniversary date of Gentiva's buyout by Kindred Healthcare went without a party.  There was no celebration at our hospice site over joining Kindred.  I don't think one person mentioned it.  We were too busy doing things by paper that used be done by computer, trying to understand what actual benefits remain from our Gentiva days and wondering how to get points to keep our company discount for new health insurance, which pales in comparison to the old and many cannot afford to use. 

Meanwhile Kindred at Home President David Causby collected the first part of his stock grant of 53,077 shares.  He received 17,693 shares of Kindred stock.  On February 2, 2015 Kindred's stock closed at $18.22.  A year later it closed at $9.49, down $8.73 per share.  That's a 48% decline in stock performance. 

Oddly, Kindred's new Chief Operating Office sold over 5,700 shares from his monster stock grant for the same $9.49 per share.  Days earlier General Counsel Suzanne Riedman sold over 12,000 shares for $9.66 a share. 

These executives may have enjoyed Kindred's anniversary of acquiring Gentiva, especially with the proceeds from their stock grants and subsequent sales. For the rest of us there was little to celebrate. 

Anonymous (from Gindred)