Friday, June 9, 2017

Kindred Sells CFO Farber Home for Huge Loss

Strange Tony,

Kindred Healthcare executives remained mum on their bad investment in high end Louisville real estate.  Kindred flipped the luxury home for a loss of at least $250,000.  Kindred CFO Stephen Farber owned the house and benefited financially from his employer's largess.

Ferber received $300,000 more than the cost of the home and subsequent renovations.  His $250,000 in extra moving expenses came on top of $110,000 Kindred paid for Farber's 2014 relocation.  I'll venture Mr. Farber avoided realtor fees on the $2.15 million Kindred paid for the house, a benefit of roughly $125,000.  Add it up and Farber got an extra $675,000 from his employer for not getting along with his neighbor.

Kindred paid dearly for the deal, the flip loss of $250,000 and the second moving expense benefit of $250,000.  The unknown variable is the cost of the driveway, estimated as high as $360,000.  Kindred is out realtor fees of $125,000, bringing the Farber anger management subsidy to almost $1 million.

This exercise in executive enrichment should become a business ethics case at the University of Louisville.  I suggest it be studied parallel to the next Kindred executive flip.  Will it just be the nursing home division or will top dogs sell the whole company?  The time is nearing for news.  I hope it's not as disturbing as this toxic saga.

Anonymous (from the Kindred level with no raises and declining benefits)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Executive Enrichment Club: Causby's Turn

Strange Tony,

Kindred Homeboy President David Causby had a good week, like Kindred Super President Ben Breier.  The Board granted Pit Bull 57,877 restricted shares of stock.  Causby controls over 300,000 shares after this move.  That means the $1.05 rise in stock price last week gave Causby over $300,000.  That is $150,000 per day for two days.

This is nothing compared to the $1 million check Causby will get for showing up for work on August 1, 2017.  Meanwhile, Kindred employees at our hospice get no raises this year.

Anonymous (from Kindred level where the home work is actually done)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Breier's New Chief of Staph to Protect His Riches

Strange Tony,

Kindred President Ben Breier scored two personal gains recently.  The company deigned he needed a Chief of Staph.  Kindred's Chief Strategy Officer took on the Presidential protector role.  The move further insulates Breier from Kindred's 100,080 non-executive employees, who've suffered from declining benefits and stagnant employee pay under his reign.  Taking advantage of employees is a Kindred corporate strategy. 

Breier's second win was a new stock grant of 272,000 shares.  It will vest one third per year for the next three years.   Recall President Ben's compensation rose to $7 million last year for under performing on promises.  Kindred lost $664 million last year.  Breier earned $1 million for each $100 million the company lost.

Kindred felt generous last week as the rest of the executive team plus the board received restricted stock options.  These are usually convertible to shares in a buyout.  As Kindred stock jumped a nickel less than $1 today, Wall Street might smell another round of rich executives making millions by flipping their company.

Meanwhile, our hospice is hanging together by a thread.  Serial mismanagement left our ship floundering.  Corporate has no clue the damage they allowed to exists for years.  They should have known from the last two PwC employee surveys but Kindred, like Gentiva, shoots the messenger vs. working on causes, focusing on processes and coaching staff.

The PwC survey went the route of wage increases for 2017.  Kindred Homeboy President David Causby finally taught Breier the Gentiva way, where employees have no voice and get no raises.  We have the new Employee Experience, where employees needs for IT support outweighed pay, benefits and horrific management practices.  Did the Chief of Staph or our Chief Peephole Officer come up with that?  Either way, Kindred is culturally toxic. 

The C Suite grows richer by under performing while ignoring abysmal and unethical management.  Ben Breier had a great week personally.  He now controls 1 million shares of Kindred stock.   His holdings went up $950,000 today.  Think about that when you pay the new $8 annual 401k fee, if you are lucky to be able to save for retirement on Kindred pitiful pay.

There are more ways Kindred can throw money at Breier.  The company can buy his house for a premium price, give him additional moving expenses or institute a $1 million bonus just for showing up for work.  The board has done those before for Chief Fleecing Officer Stephen Farber and Kindred Homeboy David Causby.

Kindred executives know how to enrich one another while shafting employees.  I expect any hospice that treats employees as people can raid Kindred of the caring talent that remains.  The work is holy,  but management is hellish.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Kindred Management Still Working on Wall Street Promises

Strange Tony,

I recall your finding management's obsession with financial measures limited and uninspiring  When Kindred purchased Gentiva it projected the combined company would produce $1 billion in EBITDAR.

Every year since the buyout management came up short.   Kindred executives announced the shortfall will grow with the sale of the nursing home division.

Kindred had core EDITDAR of $950 million for 2016.  Core EBITDAR declined 3.1% to $950.1 million compared to $980.3 million in the same period in 2015. 

The company reaffirms 2017 guidance for core EBITDAR of $930 million, with a range of $910 million to $950 million.Says for 2018 reaffirms core EBITDAR of approximately $840 million.

Core EBITDAR dropped after management's $1 billion promise.  Kindred's employee numbers also fell since the Gentiva deal.

109,000 -- October 2014 - Kindred plus Gentiva employees
102,000 -- December 2015
100,100 -- December 2016

After announcing Kindred's buyout of Gentiva the number of jobs fell by 8,900.  Benefits deteriorated in nearly every area after Kindred took over Gentiva.  Even taking out of employees pockets Kindred couldn't make its EBITDAR promises.

I feel another sale may be coming.  It was the exit strategy for Gentiva managers who bragged about their ability to operate and the depth of their bench.  All Gentiva executives took the money and all but one ran with their new fortunes.  Only COO David Causby took the money and stayed for a series of $1 million Kindred bonuses.  His next one will come just for showing up on August 1.

Exit is also the route many excellent and underappreciated hospice employees take.  Our site is gearing up for another exodus.  Why is it mostly the good, caring employees who leave?  Why are they designated as not eligible for rehire?

Management is too focused on shallow measures to see the depth of commitment and caring.  They don't know what our site has lost and will lose.  Their eyes and ears are trained on EBITDAR to the exclusion of service and caring.  Executives also ignore competitive pay and benefits for those doing the work.

Anonymous  (from numbers obsessed, underachieving Kindred)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pray LBO Stays Away

Strange Tony,

Financial sharks circle Kindred Healthcare and some are inside the company.  Take former CEO Paul Diaz, who received a $6 million cash bonus in May 2015 for closing the deal on Gentiva.  Diaz went on to become an operating partner with Cressey and Company.  Oddly, his bio on Cressey's website makes no mention of his current Kindred board service.  Diaz is Vice Chairman of Kindred's Board of Directors. 

Should Kindred sell for a premium to Cressey and Company conflict of interest questions would arise.  Should Cressey hire Guidon Partners to co-invest on Kindred more ethical questions would surface.  A Generic Hospice commenter educated me about Diaz role with Cressey and Guidon. How many ways could Paul Diaz make money if those possibilities rang true?  He'd be on both sides of the deal.

Members of Kindred's executive team and board have leveraged buyout organizations, LBO, in their background. Firms include Warburg Pincus, Bain Capital, TPG, Summit Partners, Blackstone Group, Apollo Global Management and the aforementioned Cressey and Company.

Reuters cited two LBO firms as being interested, Blackstone and Apollo Global.  Kindred COO Kent Wallace worked as CEO for Blackstone affiliate, Vanguard Health Systems.  Kindred Board member Frederick Kleisner served on the board of an Apollo affiliate, Apollo Residential Mortgage..

Kindred's management operated much like a buyout firm by purchasing companies with copious amounts of debt.  The Gentiva buyout bought our hospice into Kindred's wider post acute tent, which it now wants to shrink or exit.  The company's obsession with measures and money have been to the detriment of mission and competent management practices at our site.  Mostly stagnant pay and deteriorating benefits have been another part of the Kindred employee experience.

Please let our new owner not be the Hannibal Lechter of finance, LBO or better known by its modern name - private equity.  Lord keep us safe from corporate predators.  For that I pray.

Anonymous (from Kindred-ever-enriching-executives)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mixed Messages for Employees on Kindred Call

Strange Tony,

Kindred hosted its earnings call last week.  The spin started the day before with the press release on first quarter results:

  • Kindred reported a first-quarter loss of $5.7 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier.
  • Consolidated revenues were $1.77 billion, a 3.8% year-over-year decrease.  It was below forecasts of $1.78 billion.  
  • The company expects full-year earnings in the range of 40 cents to 70 cents per share.

It's not a stirring financial report but the stock market reacted positively.  With projected earnings of 55 cents/share (midpoint) Kindred's stock has a price-earnings ratio of over 19 for 2017.  That's a heady valuation for a company potentially on the sale block, especially as it's carrying $3.2 billion in debt.

Hospice and home health held up our end of the delivery equation by doing more with less.

Mr. Breier continued, "In the first quarter, we delivered very encouraging sequential and year-over-year improvement in our Kindred at Home Division, with strong same-store volume growth in both our home health and hospice businesses. Combined with a sequential reduction of labor costs in the first quarter, we returned to historic growth levels and delivered results in line with our 2017 expectations."

The call opened with Breier's usual hollow pander to employees. 

I'd like to start my comments by extending my deep appreciation to our more than 100,000 teammates across the country. Each day our partners at Kindred work hard to improve the lives of the more than 1 million patients we care for annually. We're proud of the excellent care and clinical outcomes we deliver which are direct result of their efforts.

For all the talk of "clinical care" and "results" executives announced the termination of the clinical ladder at the end of 2017 with no plans to replace it.  To boot our branch manager informed staff there are no raises in this year's budget. 

Ben Breier:  "We’re working hard on our merit design and making sure that we're giving people a competitive market increase

We’ve worked hard at our benefit plans, reinstated our 401(k) match, working on a lots of different ways that we can make the employee experience here at Kindred, the teammate experience here at Kindred as best that it can be.

We have made great progress I think in terms of measuring employee satisfaction and the various things we’re doing. "

There's no sign of the PwC annual employee survey, which Kindred conducted twice after buying Gentiva.  The 2016 survey fell into a management hole at our hospice site.  Employees never heard the results and our branch manager said Kindred de-emphasized the survey, which was the direct result of employee feedback efforts.   Apparently, executives measured employee satisfaction and ignored the results

Staff turnover within Kindred at Home actually increased in 2016 to 23.6% from 22.6% in 2015.  That statistic meant having to hire more replacements.

We’re better and better every quarter at recruiting people into the company and keeping people longer.

Actually when you look at our turnover rates and our retention rates, we continue to really outperform even our own expectations. Our turnover remains at really kind of historical lows across our business settings and our retention rates remain at sort of historical high.

So we’re doing we think a lot of the right things, probably not all of the right things. But we are doing a lot of the right things. And I think that it still remains the contested labor market particularly for nurses in the acute setting. And that’s where kind of the real kind of hand to hand fight continues for us.

Executives "hand to hand fight" is against current employees within the company, at least our hospice site.  Our "reinstated" 401(k) match is a fraction of Gentiva's and Kindred's health insurance makes it financially difficult to see a physician outside the annual wellness visit.   

No voice, no raise, clinical ladder pay cuts and ongoing benefits erosion are the Causby/Kindred way.  This might be preparation for the next sellout and another round of executive enrichment.

Gentiva did a number of squirrely things to polish the numbers while Kindred's Paul Diaz courted the company.  Our site has experienced similarly strange but different dollar squeezing initiatives.  They are an impediment to good patient care and employee retention.  Due diligence caused undo harm to employees and patient care in the past.  It may well resurface.  Brace yourself.

Anonymous (from KindredforSale) 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kindred Might Sell Whole Company


It seems like yesterday Kindred was the dark suitor for Gentiva, a hospice and home health giant.  Gentiva CEO Tony Strange held off Kindred's Paul Diaz until the deal price reached an appropriate premium, meaning Gentiva executives would be set for life.

Kindred has been shopping its long term care division and has multiple bidders.  Executives say they could deal the whole company.  "The company says there is also interest in a complete buyout, an option it will be 'willing to engage' if the premium makes sense."

Our hospice has been through multiple buyouts and our employees don't get jack.  Executives rake it in, as can be seen in their change in control compensation.

Our site has been impacted by a deal every two years on average. Not one has made us better. Not one company has treated employees as partners.  Every one has reduced benefits for employees and services for patients.

We should be used to such organizational trauma as often as it happens.  Our hospice may have a slick new owner soon, one that mouths the right words while carving up our hides and taking from our wallets.

I pray Kindred becomes employee owned. That is the only way leadership balance can return and the employee voice can actually be heard.  Right now it is nonexistent.

Anonymous (from Kindredinplay)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kindred Close to Flipping Farber House for Big Loss

Strange Tony,

Kindred has a contingent contract on the Glenview Avenue home it purchased from Chief Financial Officer Stephen Farber to solve an un-neighborly conflict.  The contingent sale price is $200,000 below the $2.15 million Kindred paid Farber in December 2015.  The company will lose much more on the house as it installed a private driveway, which at one point had an estimated $300,000 price tag. 

That's quite an executive subsidy.  My hospice co-workers struggle to pay for prescriptions and physician visits under our ever worsening health insurance.  For many there is nothing left to set aside for retirement as bills increase far more than company pay. 

Kindred President Ben Breier thanked employees for helping him make $7 million last year.  His outlandish pay is a "direct result of our efforts."  I'm not sure how he and his fellow C-Suiters can sleep at night.  Surely they know they can't take it with them.

As social workers, nurses, and chaplains we get the joy of being with, listening to and helping hospice patients and their families.  That blessing is the balm for Kindred's dismissive stance on our needs for living. 

Happy Easter!  May it bring renewal, peace, joy and a focus on things eternal.

Anonymous (from Kindred which has a $7 million man)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Kindred Accelerates Nursing Turnover Strategy

Strange Tony,

Kindred Hospice designed and implemented new procedures that are driving our hospice nurses away.  The basic features are:

1)  Nurses must enter information into the computer using various forms, including the form the team prepares for our regular Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings.
2)  Nurses must have the IDT form completed in the computer two days prior to IDT for supervisors to review.
3)  Nurses must update the IDT form with new information that arises in the forty eight hours between electronic submission and the actual IDT meeting.  After completing and updating computerized forms nurses must park their electronic medical record device outside the IDT room.
4)  Nurses must be prepared to discuss each patient during IDT.  As they are not allowed to use the computer they used to perform steps 1-3 nurses must create paper documents that pull together key clinical information from a number of computerized clinical forms.  Our nurses are relegated to hand scribing, a tool that existed prior to the printing press, for sharing the written word.  The company has no plans to create this optimal IDT discussion document in the computer system so nurses can press print and meet the company's expectations.  
5)  The nurse cannot make a correction or enter a physician's order during IDT.  They must scribble notes on paper to remind them of computer entries they must make after IDT.  This separation in time and space from the original doctor's medication order introduces an increased opportunity for error at both the nurse's and physician's end.
6)  Phone use is prohibited in IDT.  Nurses are not allowed to take calls, text or use any of their smartphone functions during IDT.
7)  Management can assign any task at any time to any nurse, a death, patient care crisis or admission, and it does not alleviate expectations 1-6.
8)  Nurses must fulfill their clinical load plus the computerized and paper procedures in expectations 1-7 during their 40 hour work week.  Overtime is an absolute no no.
9)  Any nurse that cannot meet expectations 1-8 with a smile and happy face is clearly incompetent and has a bad attitude.  They must be micromanaged, which consists of 99.9% criticism and 0.01% neutral feedback.  Positive judgments are prohibited by branch management and Kindred's Human Abuse department.

The rules are different for nurse managers:

10)  Nurse manager work is too important to take them away for menial tasks like patient visits or a customer service crisis.
11)  Nurse manager work is so stressful that they must take frequent breaks to catch their breath, chit chat in each other's offices and plan what their clique will have for lunch.
12)  Nurse manager work is so routine that they can enter the building at 8:00 am and leave at 5:00 pm each and every day.  
13)  Nurse managers, who don't see patients or know their sex, race or name they like to be called, are allowed to have their computer, use their personal phones for calls and texting, and e-mail one another during the IDT meeting.
14)  Nurse managers endorse and enforce Kindred's opposition to multi-tasking, distributed real-time information sharing and timely processing of physician orders to ensure accuracy.  Nurse managers say "Comply with what does not make sense and maybe corporate will give us permission to do what does makes sense."  That in itself is a form of abuse.

Kindred's nurse turnover strategy is already effective in driving away skilled and competent nurses.  It's early in its rollout.  An exodus is building at our site.

Kindred loves metrics.  Employee turnover increased under Kindred at Home President David Causby.  It rose from 22.6% in 2015 to 23.6% in 2016.   For driving more people away Causby got $245,344 of his $2.7 million in executive compensation for 2016.

How much of our hospice will be left when Kindred at Home President David Causby qualifies for his next $1 million bonus on August 1, 2017?  I expect our nurse quitting statistic to enter record territory.

Anonymous (from the Kindred Kindergarten)

Postscript -- On May 4, 2017 Kindred President Ben Brier said in the first quarter earnings call "We’re going have is we've now talked about, the biggest, I would argue, best run, I would argue most valuable home health, hospice and community care business asset probably anywhere in the country."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kindred's Putrid Management Practices

Strange Tony,

A Vice President of some sort visited our hospice office last week.  After hearing him speak I found an image summarizing the message he communicated verbally and non-verbally.  It also reflects management practices at our hospice site since Kindred took over.  I didn't think things could get worse than under Gentiva but that happened.  The stench of synergy is significant.

Anonymous (from Kindred, at least one rung lower than Gentiva)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kindred Executives Rewarded for Bad Year

Strange Tony,

Kindred President Ben Breier has 100,000 new shares of stock thus far in 2017 thanks to a generous Board of Directors.  Kindred at Home President David Causby isn't far behind with 85,000 new shares since January 1st.  These rewards occurred after Kindred lost $664 million in 2016.

My pay barely budged last year but the cost to see a physician soared without the physician copay benefit I'd had in all my years with our hospice.  Kindred cut my benefits and this helped boost executive bonuses and stock grants.  Even the Chief People Officer got 12,000 new shares for not watching our backs in the C Suite and Board room.

CFO Stephen Farber received 28,000 new shares.  Kindred marked down Farber's former house to $1.95 million.  Kindred's housing subsidy for Farber could reach $800,000 should the house sell at this price.

Kindred's pattern has executives enriched at every turn while employees wait for crumbs to fall from their table.  This is the antithesis of hospice founding philosophy.  Can I join you in retirement? 

Anonymous (from Kindred loves executives)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Discounted Farber Home Hits Market Again

Strange Tony,

Kindred put CFO Stephen Farber's former home back on the market for just under $2 million.  Before Christmas the company asked $2.4 million for the executive estate. 

The revised price of $1.95 million is $200,000 less than the $2.15 million the company paid Farber in December 2015.  Kindred spent $60,000 designing the separate driveway and up to $300,000 for construction.

Farber's compensation for 2015 should have enabled him to sell his house and find more appropriate neighbors.

The Committee increased Mr. Farber’s base salary from $500,000 to $600,000 to reflect his high level of performance associated with significantly replacing the Company’s capital structure.

Mr. Farber was awarded $350,000 from this special cash award pool for his efforts in connection with these acquisitions.

Mr. Farber’s target award as a percentage of base salary was increased to 60% from 50% in 2015 in connection with his exemplary performance as Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Farber received a one-time payment of $250,000 to offset relocation and other costs incurred in connection with his relocation

The company awarded stock valued at $841,000 to Mr. Farber for his oversight and leadership of the Company’s financial matters, including his efforts to expand and restructure the Company’s capital structure.

The company used that capital structure to buy Farber's house after giving him another $250,000 in "moving expenses."  That was on top of $110,000 in moving expenses the prior year.  For some reason Farber's exemplary performance did not transfer to successful neighbor relations.

Kindred's housing subsidy for Stephen Farber could cost the company dearly.  If the house sells for asking price Farber's subsidy, direct and indirect, could be $800,000 or more.

Anonymous (from Kindredpoor)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kindred's Top People Face Against Employees

Strange Tony,

Human Resources was once counted on to balance senior executives who preferred finance, marketing or legal/compliance over people.  Many top dogs got to their lofty slot by flattening their peers.  Such leaders view HR as touchy feely stuff.  True human resources makes many senior leaders uncomfortable.

When executive incentive pay reached stratospheric levels HR became a means for top dogs to achieve obscene pay and cash/stock bonuses.  HR Vice Presidents turned into Chief People Officers, surreptitiously advancing their fortunes and those of fellow C Suiters. 

Kindred's Chief People person has done little to aid employees in my two years plus with the company.   Our health insurance worsened markedly.  Getting paid for one sick day requires a herculean effort.  Kindred cut the retirement match by 40%, eliminated it completely and then brought it back at a fraction of Gentiva's former level.  Where Gentiva would have contributed $2.50 Kindred now gives $1.  That's a 60% cut for some employees.

Legacy Gentiva employees experienced a series of HR intrusions courtesy of two faced executives.  One face publicly highlights employees as the people producing the results.  The other face peers down to pull money out of our wallets and stuff it into their own.  Every benefit reduction that cost employees falls to the bottom line and boosts executive incentive pay.

The company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission has no human resource measures like employee satisfaction or turnover. Such metrics disappeared after the ascent of Kindred President Ben Breier and Kindred at Home President David Causby.

The company's board granted our Chief People person 10,000 shares per year his first three years with Kindred.  It's now 12,000 shares a year. That's a 20% bump up in one area of his overall compensation.

Kindred gifted him another 38,000 shares outside the two numbers previously mentioned, bringing his current holdings to 85,500 shares.  Remember this your next doctor visit when you get to pay the whole bill. 

It will take a few weeks to find out how much our CPO and his executive cabal profited from our 2016 pain.  Right now they are hatching plans for 2018's benefits. If you see our Chief People person please ask him how much more they plan to cut?  Some of us need to begin planning.

Anonymous (from Legacy Gentiva)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Kindred Closes on Dreadful 2016

Strange Tony,

Kindred executives told their 2016 financial story to Wall Street analysts on Tuesday.  This is the group that just got free stock from Kindred's Board for losing $7.65 a share.

President Ben Breier opened the call with his usual pander to employees, "I'd like to start my comments by thanking everyone who helped make 2016 such a successful year for Kindred."  So successful that Breier had to cut the employee Christmas gift.   Employees wouldn't have had time to eat it, not with our increased workload.

Kindred at Home delivered another quarter of solid volume.  Hospice delivered same-store revenue growth of 6.5% on same-store admissions growth of 4.4%.

Core EBITDAR margins for both home health and hospice contracted due primarily to nursing labor headwinds. These headwinds came from a combination of the macro labor conditions we spoken about and quite frankly some self-inflicted costs stemming from our continued integration of pay practices and electronic medical record systems. We expect to make meaningful progress on the controllable part of this labor equation in 2017.

There are some exogenous related issues around some wage rate creep in that business but I would view Q4 as much more of a self-inflicted wound as I would and exogenous issue. We have gone through sort of the final stages in that business of consolidating our electronic medical records of consolidating pay practices and what I would really describe the fourth quarter in our Kindred at Home labor line being is really more of a productivity issue than an average wage rate issue.
Productivity is associated with creep and executives in many employee's minds. Consider Breier's comment to analysts:

On the hospice side you may even see high single-digit growth rates there and that you should expect that you know depending on how we're able to deal with our labor issues that a significant portion of that can drop through (to the bottom line and executive incentive pay).
I don't know one coworker who has gotten a high single digit raise in pay in a year, much less a series of years. 

Look we left some dollars on the table clearly because of some of the premium labor issues we're dealing with and I would expect that you'll see some improvement in that number  
Who knew Ben Breier's wager table is our paycheck?  Some employees earned too much last year for the Creep Suiters.  However, most have continued falling behind financially doing the work we love. 

"We have a very focused initiative right here on trying to take more cost out"
As for productivity many of my coworkers donate time to patients.  How much extra free time will executives subconsciously demand as they control the labor equation and take more costs out?  This group wants more than the few thousand free shares they recently received and they will do it on employees backs.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Friday, February 24, 2017

February Be Kind to Rich Executives Month


Kindred's board of directors showed more executive love this past week with its wholesale granting of free shares of stock to the all male executive review at Kindred HQ.  I found it odd in light of my hospice coworkers struggling to pay uncovered healthcare costs from last year.

Low to no raises have employees scrimping to set aside any money in the restarted 401k.  For every $40 an employee contributes Kindred will contribute $4.  Gentiva would've given $8.

Prior earnings calls contained verbal panders to employees but executive actions shouted the opposite since Paul Diaz snagged Gentiva.  For that the board granted Paul a $6 million check and kicked him upstairs.  Pay and benefits wise our hospice has gone down a rung since his multi-million dollar payday.

I'm glad there's Kindred love to give.  I wish employees were feeling some of it.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Causby's Latest Stock Award

Strange Tony,

On 2/02/2017 EVP & President Kindred at Home David Causby received 17,692 new shares of common stock bringing his total Kindred holdings to 179,162.

Pursuant to his Employment Agreement, the reporting person (David A. Causby) was granted 53,077 restricted stock units, vesting in three equal annual installments beginning February 2, 2016.

And what did the company give employees the last few months?  A co-worker remarked we didn't get candy for Christmas in 2016.  Executives sent sweets our first year under Kindred ownership.

Causby will get another $1 million bonus for showing up to work on August 1, 2017.  So that's where our candy money went.  Will they go after our lunch money next?

Anonymous (from Kindred loves executives)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Kindred's Dealing with Ventas

Strange Tony,

Kindred President Ben Breier opened his portion of the third quarter earnings call with:

"Last night we announced the strategic decision to exit the skilled nursing facility business, which is the final step in a process that began for us 15 years ago when Kindred operated over 300 skilled nursing facilities.'

'A full exit of this business, together with the significant cost realignment initiative we are undertaking in connection with the exit, are substantial steps forward in our effort to continue to transform Kindred's strategy and growth profile to enhance shareholder value. We're pleased to be working with Ventas to finalize an agreement that will create value for Ventas and Kindred shareholders, and facilitate Kindred's exit from the skilled nursing business."

Most people don't know but Ventas birthed Kindred via a spinoff on May 1, 1998.  The two companies remained intertwined ever since.

Kindred reduced its significant nursing home division by selling facilities in 2013 and 2015. Breaking Ventas leases cost Kindred serious money:

In January 2015 Kindred paid Ventas a $40 million early termination fee associated with nine leased facilities.  In 2013 Ventas received a $20 million early termination fee associated with fifty nine leased facilities.

Kindred paid $521 million in rent to Ventas over the last three years. 

  • $172 million for the year ended December 31, 2015
  • $192 million for the year ended December 31, 2014
  • $248 million for the year ended December 31, 2013

That relationship will be tested in Kindred's decision to exit the nursing center business, which Breier said is struggling to meet budget targets.

"Our exposure to the challenges facing the nursing center industry are expected to amount to $40 million to $50 million worse than our 2016 operating plan."

Kindred plans to sell its remaining nursing homes during 2017, but it will need to buy them from Ventas before reselling them.  McKnight's said "Kindred's skilled nursing portfolio includes the 36 Ventas facilities, 26 facilities the company owns and 25 that are rented from other companies. Kindred expects to bring in $100 million to $300 million from the sale of the portfolio."

In prior nursing home asset sales Kindred recorded an asset impairment charge of $8 million and a loss on divestiture of $2 million.

The nursing center wheel is about to fall off the Kindred wagon.  Oddly, it could fall to Care Capital Properties, Ventas skilled nursing REIT spinoff.  That might explain Kindred executives clarity on how much they expect to make on the sale.

“We expect the after-tax net proceeds from the sale of these assets will range from $100 million to $300 million after transaction costs, severance expenses, and the amount payable to Ventas for the sale of the Ventas Properties,” he said. “We expect to apply these anticipated net proceeds to reduce funded debt, which combined with the impact of our cost realignment initiative, the elimination of approximately $90 million of annual rents, and the reduction of approximately $30 million of annual capital expenditures will reduce our leverage.”

Why should anyone at hospice care what happens in the nursing center division?  With $1.2 billion in revenue gone executives will likely provide us more attention.  In Gentiva or Kindred that is generally an uncomfortable thing.  Their plans didn't work for the nursing center segment, likely because they were divorced from reality.  There is a limit to staff's ability to endure executive ignorance, aggression and impatience.  It's a harsh contrast to the hospice movement's core founding principles.

Anonymous (from Kindredful)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Retirement Plan for Non Executives: Keep Working


Gentiva employees experienced a series of benefit reductions in 2014, the very year executives agreed to sell the company to Kindred.  That pattern continued while Kindred executives kept telling employees we were "better together."  That was clearly not the case in the retirement arena.

Gentiva COO David Causby did not want to hear employees voice and he does not look after them now as Kindred at Home President.  Yet the company continues his obscene pay levels, which includes another $1 million bonus for showing up to work on August 1, 2017.

Kindred plans to restore a minuscule 401k match beginning in February 2017.  It will match $1 for every $10 an employee contributes.  That's well below Gentiva's 401k contribution level.  For an employee to take advantage of this benefit they would need lots of discretionary income.  Most of my hospice coworkers don't have funds to contribute given years of nonexistent to paltry raises and shifting significant first dollar health care costs to employees.  That occurred with the elimination of the physician copay benefit in 2016. 

It looks like another Kindred benefit for wealthy executives.  Kindred continues to be Better Together for this exclusive bunch.

Anonymous (from Kindredpoor)

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)