Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yet Another Visit from Kindred VP of Some Sort


StrangeTony,

Our hospice site had another visit from a Kindred high up. I offer comments 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 do they do to meet management's numbers expectations?  Executives care not the consequences as long as patient headcount rises. 

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)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Health Insurance Drivers for 2017


StrangeTony,

Chief People Officer Stephen Cunanan received 36,000 shares of Kindred stock on March 24, 2016.  That same day the company awarded Kindred CEO Ben Breier 283,0000 shares.   Breier recently told Wall Street analysts he feels "pretty good" about getting back to over $1 billion EBITDAR in 2017.

What kind of health, dental and vision insurance benefits do you think they're working to bring Kindred employees for the coming year?  Expect to pay more for less coverage, especially if Mr. Cunanan wants to increase the value of his 83,500 shares of Kindred stock or if Mr. Breier desires to maximize the worth of his 678,000 shares.

The company is "still working on health benefits."  Generally, their work is our pain.  Consistently, executives focus on personal gain. 

Anonymous

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Executives Paving Way for ?


StrangeTony,

Word has it a corporate big chief will visit our hospice site soon.  No dates or names have been shared yet but we've been instructed to "clean up" for a visiting corporate dignitary.  The latest update from Kindred at Home President David Causby said an opportunity exists to improve relations with senior management. 

If we rarely or never see them are we in relationship?  If they talk and we only listen are we in relationship?  If we are relegated to a once a year survey for feedback is that relationship?  What if we see no action taken on concerns shared in the last survey?  Is that considered relationship?

I'd be interested in hearing from peers who've experienced recent visits from Kindred executives.  What's the tone from up high?  What priorities did they share?  Feel free to comment or e-mail.  It would be interesting and instructive to hear.

Anonymous (from Kindred)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Kindred At Home Employees Should Know


StrangeTony,

Kindred President Ben Breier shared important information for Kindred staff during today's second quarter earnings call.  Seeking Alpha's call transcript had the following information from Breier.

Let me start as I usually do by extending my deep appreciation on behalf of the entire leadership team to our now more than 100,000 teammates across the country. Each day our partners of Kindred work hard to improve the lives of the more than one million patients we care for annually. The excellent care delivery and clinical outcomes we generate are the direct result of their efforts.

Kindred at Home employees should be aware of our impact on the wider company.  President Breier praised us in the call.

Kindred at Home which comprises our home, health, hospice community care and home base primary care businesses now drives more than one third of our revenue and half of our consolidated earnings.

Those who came from Gentiva should know our lower health insurance and retirement benefits helped Kindred's bottom line, which we already disproportionately enhance.

We’ve done a great job in terms of continuing to as I talked earlier drive synergies of Gentiva. I think we’re getting close to the end on that we’re almost up to the $85 million level there.

In summary, Kindred at Home employees have done great work, most of us have taken it on the chin benefit wise and the company has benefited greatly financially.  Surely a reward is coming to the lion's share of Kindred's 100,000 employees?  Nope.

... we’re sort of at kind of a run rate on where we think labor is. I am not sure we’re going to see acceleration, it’s pretty tough and summer seems to be always the toughest part of the year, labor wise for us, also people go on vacations, people start to retire, people think about different things. So I don’t think we contemplated much of a change from our run rates into our ‘17 guidance. 

Employees can sleep fitfully knowing Kindred executives see little they need to do labor wise.  Former Gentiva employees may enter 2017 with no retirement match.  It's not clear how much worse employer provided health insurance will become but the drop in coverage from Gentiva to Kindred was severe for many of us.

We’re still working on health benefits. And just there’s a lot of moving parts I think still. But generally those are the pieces that as we think about getting back to at least $1 billion (of EBITDAR) next year that’s how we feel pretty good about getting to that point.

If executives feel good that usually translates to lots of employees feeling bad. StrangeTony, you retired at the right time.

Mizuho Securities Sheryl Skolnick recently took Kindred to task for taking liberties with accounting adjustments.  President Ben responded to her question on what's driving wide variability in quarterly earnings.

... complex site of the house if you will.

Unfortunately Breier was talking about the company's LTAC business not CFO Stephen Farber's shared driveway.  Might his former house sale be part of the guidance for third quarter being lower?  It depends on how things roll up.   

Anonymous (from Kindred's basement)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Kindred Executives Sell Stock


Strange Tony,

Securities and Exchange Commission filings indicate three Kindred executives sold stock last week.  Those selling include President Ben Breier who sold nearly 5,000 shares on 7-29 for $12.26 per share, leaving him with roughly 680,000 shares.

Chief People Officer Stephen Cunanan sold the next day  Oddly his 3,500 shares priced at the exact same level, $12.26 per share.  He holds 83,500 shares after the sale.

Executive Vice President Jon Rousseau also sold nearly 4,000 shares on 7-30 for the very same $12.26 per share.  His stock holdings stand at nearly 74,000.  All three executives sold  under Code F, which is for "payment of exercise price or tax liability using portion of securities"

Kindred announces Q2 earnings tomorrow and Mizuho Securities' Sherly Skolnick might be on the call.   She asked former Gentiva President Tony Strange challenging questions over the years.  It's Ben Breier's turn to talk about what matters to executives.  It's clearly their compensation. 

Anonymous (under Kindredful Management)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Watching Company Assets Go to Kindred CFO



StrangeTony,

A company's chief financial officer has financial fiduciary responsibilities.  One CFO job description says:

The chief financial officer position is accountable for the administrative, financial, and risk management operations of the company, to include the development of a financial and operational strategy, metrics tied to that strategy, and the ongoing development and monitoring of control systems designed to preserve company assets and report accurate financial results.

Kindred CFO Stephen Farber is the recipient of a second relocation package which included $250,000, the purchase of his home for $2.15 million and payment of legal, design and construction of a new driveway.   Louisville's WDRB says:

Minow, who co-wrote a business school textbook called Corporate Governance, said it would be hard for the company to defend paying for Farber to move once he had settled in Louisville.

“A relocation fee is supposed to be for when they move in order to take the job,” said Minow. “You’re not supposed to pay for them to move because they don’t get along with their neighbor.”

Stout, who chairs the corporate governance group at the Minneapolis law firm Fredrikson & Byron, said the money Kindred has spent on Farber’s behalf is “nickels and dimes in a multi-billion-dollar company,” but it sends the wrong message about the “company culture” to Kindred’s thousands of employees.

Integrity starts at the top, and tone at the top is important because it sets the tone for the organization,” he said. “It’s very hard to get the employees of the company to take ethics and culture seriously if the people at the top aren’t.”

Top executives and the Board decided to mobilize significant company resources to manage their CFO's dispute with a neighbor.  It took two Louisville news organizations to shed light on the situation.

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ― John Wooden

And this test reveals what about our company and its leaders?

Anonymous (from Kindrexecutive Sweet)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kindred's Executive Home Purchase Story Has Legs

StrangeTony,

The story behind Kindred Healthcare's strange purchase of CFO Stephen Farber's home in December 2015 continues to develop.  WDRB discovered Farber had moved from the home months earlier, casting doubt over Kindred's concerns regarding Farber's personal safety.  WDRB reported:

But records in a Jefferson County court case now show that Farber had already moved from the Glenview home months before he and his wife decided to sell it to Kindred in December.

The case also reveals the extent to which Kindred has committed its corporate resources to assist Farber in the ongoing dispute with his ex-neighbor, real estate investor David Fenley.

Last August, for example, it was Kindred that hired and paid the invoices of a land surveying and engineering firm that designed a new driveway on what was then Farber’s property. The driveway, now under construction by Kindred, could cost as much as $360,000 in all, according to a deposition.

Governance expert Nell Minnow weighed in on the home purchase by Kindred:

“There certainly can be no question of safety if he has already moved,” she said. “At the very least, it sounds deliberately misleading.”

Nell Minow is vice chair of ValueEdge Advisors which advises big investors on corporate governance issues.

John Stout, a Minneapolis lawyer who previously chaired the corporate governance committee of the American Bar Association, said the situation “obviously doesn’t reflect well on the company, and it doesn’t reflect well on how they explain this.”

Susan Moss, Kindred’s corporate spokeswoman, did not respond to a phone call and a set of emailed questions from WDRB. Moss has not responded to inquiries about the Farber home purchase since January.

Jan West, an attorney representing Kindred and Farber in the ongoing litigation over the driveway, also did not respond to a request for comment.

I can see the company is non-responsive to more than employee needs.   From pay to home purchases Kindred's new executive drive is clearly designed to benefit senior leaders.

Anonymous (from Kindred small fry)