Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kindred's 2016 Accomplishments

Strange Tony,

Kindred published a list of accomplishments for 2016.  “In 2016, we made significant progress in our continuing efforts to grow the Company and improve our quality outcomes across our care settings,” said Benjamin A. Breier, Kindred’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are setting the foundation for a stronger Kindred as we drive effective patient-centered care solutions and proactively address the changing healthcare marketplace.”

Here are a few Kindred accomplishments for Legacy Gentiva employees:

1.  Eliminated physician copay benefit in employer sponsored health insurance for 2016.  This made employees responsible for the whole bill for a primary care illness visit and any specialty doctor visits.  A coworker at our hospice saw her cost for physician care soar from $200 to over $1,000 from this one change.

2.  Reduced 401k match by 25% in 2016 with total elimination for 2017.

3.  Purchased home of CFO Stephen Farber for $2.15 million after providing corporate legal and architectural services to resolve disputes between Farber and his neighbors.  This came after giving Farber another $250,000 in moving expenses in late 2015.  Kindred paid to have trees removed and a new driveway installed and is selling the property for $2.4 million.

4.  Conducted another employee survey and ignored concerns expressed.  Some involved legal and compliance issues.

5.  Decided to exit the nursing home sector, which was the core mission when Kindred was spun off from Ventas in 1998.  REIT Ventas focused on nursing homes and spun off the management or operating side of the company.  Kindred will have to dance with its former owner over 36 Ventas owned nursing homes as it makes the exit.

6.  President Ben Breier told Wall Street analysts the company wants over $1 billion in EBITDA for 2017.

7.  2016's end puts Kindred at Home President David Causby a mere eight months away from his next $1 million bonus.  While legacy Gentiva employees continue falling behind in pay and benefits our leader gets huge bonuses for just showing up.

I'm sure there are more accomplishments for executives, but those seem worth revisiting.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Kindred Selling Glenview Home Purchased from CFO Farber

StrangeTony,

The story of Kindred Healthcare's unusual 2015 benefit for CFO Stephen Farber may soon come to an end with the sale of the former Farber home for an asking price of $2.4 million.  Kindred purchased the home because three well off Kentucky men couldn't get along while sharing a common driveway.  One could expect a lecture from Jacob Marley to these men about the chains they forged by their selfish and greedy actions.

The same executives who purchased the Farber home eliminated legacy Gentiva employees' miserly retirement match come January 1, 2017.   How many tiny Tims are in the homes of Kindred employees struggling to get by today?  How much harder will their lives be later in life so Presidents Ben Breier and David Causby can squeeze out a few million more dollars in synergies?

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


StrangeTony,

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

StrangeTony,

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