July 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
When Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, S.D., and MeritCare of Fargo began flirting with a merger, not everyone in Fargo was pleased. Continue Reading
Tags: Editorials, hospital merger, MeritCare, Opinion, Sanford Health 23 Comments »
These things all sound well and good, but I wonder what this will mean to the average Jane or Joe who goes there for routine health care. I have been disappointed so many times. When I go there the doctor brushes off my complaints, does little testing, and nearly always wants to send me to physical therapy.(That must be their big money maker.) I like to listen to the latest health info on Fox News on Sunday morning with Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld. Then I go to Meritcare, and they don’t seem up on any of this. I guess they don’t get time to watch TV or get any educational updates.
Hot debate. What do you think? 16 20
I suppose the medical bills will be going up now, as they are spending four million dollars, just to change their signs. Not to mention having to change all the letter heads, uniforms, logos,and so on.
They also stated when they first merged, that a new corporate office building would be built in downtown Fargo, I did not see that on the list in the Forum’s editorial. I suppose that the corporate office will stay in SD.
It will just be a wait and see adventure, to see if it works out.
However, in my heart, it will always be St. Luke’s to me.
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Things are not peachy for the employees. They and there families are really gonna miss how good they had it with MeritCare. Benifits have taken a hard beating under Sanford and pay was froze last year to be followed up with a 1% raise that cant keep up with the raise in health insurance not to mention cost of living expenses. The workers there are really going to start falling backwards. Which means less $$ and less disposable income to spend in the community. No sir this was no merger at all this was a take over a wolf in sheeps clothes if you will. Man was Fargo sucker punched this time.
Hot debate. What do you think? 27 15
First of all the wage freeze was before the merger. It had nothing to do with Sanford. Second, the 1% raise you mentioned is going to 10% of the employees with the same amount of people getting 3%. The majority of the workers are getting 2%. It isn’t the greatest but it beats last year. You need to come up with some actual facts if you are going to convince people to hate Sanford.
Hot debate. What do you think? 20 14
You’re right, Waylon. I have a relative who works at “Sanford”. The new insurance is crappy compared to what they had. It costs a lot more. She spends a lot more for her prescriptions too. For the employees it’s a lose, lose scenario. And then they’re supposed to be happy. Pretty sad.
Hot debate. What do you think? 19 11
I must have read a different article yesterday. According to the merger story from yesterdayâ€™s Forum:
– Sanfordâ€™s Roger Maris Cancer Center, which has outgrown its space, will become a name in cancer treatment beyond Fargoâ€¦
â€œThe almost legendary reputation of not only the man but the cancer center is very meaningful to this region,â€ Krabbenhoft said. He added: â€œMr. Sanford has ideas about cancer and the potential of something new that weâ€™re working on behind the scenes.â€
No where in the article does it say the cancer center is guaranteed to stay in town….notice the â€œbecome a name beyond Fargo” comment…perhaps in physical location too?
Furthermore, in the past, over the years both facilities have been granted large amounts of federal research dollars earmarked for cancer research. As a merger into a single entity, the government can not continue to issue separate grants to a single entity. My guess is the majority of those grant dollars will stay with the SD cancer center.
I could be wrong about this, but then again, I didnâ€™t believe past reports that said the merger was going to be and stay a merger of equals.
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At first I thought this merger would be good. I was wrong. It isn’t really a merger, it is a take over. The name is not a unified name, it is Sanford. Even the employee newsletter called Carenet was changed to Sanford Connect. They are wiping out any trace of Meritcare. Employees are losing retirement, vacation days and having insurance deductible twice the amount of before. Who knows how much they will make us pay to have insurance next year. I know I am lucky to have a job and I do appreciate it but I think they have been lying to everybody about this. My 2% raise will not even cover the extra deductible for my medical bills next year. And I agree with the AnLa, are they going to move the cancer center? What kind of ideas does Denny Sanford have about cancer, is he a doctor?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 25 5
Jamie, the pay freeze went into effect last Aug we merged in Nov. You cant tell me that the merger did not play a part. You know dang well there was talk long before the media or any of us caught wind of this. They did not just start working on it in Nov You also cannot argue with what Mary said. You must be a little bit higher up on the food chain here if you are trying to defend them. You wanna talk facts..? Here is what I had with MeritCare I had 6% put into a pension every year I did not have to put anything in on my own. Also when I had reviews I was reminded of how the pension was part of my salary. So with thati n mind I am taking a 3% pay cut if I get a 3% raise which only 10% of the people are. Under MeritCare I had better insurance, I had better accural of PTO, I had better raises that could pretty much at least keep up with the healthcare raises. This merger was so suppose to be good for us..? I am just trying to see how it is. Their little merger slogan is stronger together well how..? From an employee point of view they are to big and run over us workers and just take away from us what they want. Maybe we employuees should do a little research on some good unions, so we can have a voice against the big corporate machine.
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Actually Waylon I am far down the food chain. I work directly with patients which is what this place is supposed to be about. Again, we were Meritcare when the pay freeze was put out. The pension, while nice, is one of the huge reasons Meritcare had finacial difficulties. I am a firm believer in ones responsibility to take care of themselves. With that being said, if you don’t want to put a little away for retirement, then why should anyone else help. This is more cost effective way for a company to make it long term. The better a business does, the better it is for the employees. Always remember, you can quit and find another job if it sucks so much here.
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Jamie–I don’t see anyplace in Waylon’s post that he doesn’t contribute to his retirement plan. He is correct, everyone is losing 6% and if you want to keep your same level of retirement benefits you will have to add an additional 6% to keep it at the same level. With the increased medical deductible and the 1-3% raises, everybody loses money. If you are so far down on the totem pole, how do you know the details and causes of any supposed financial difficulties? After the lay offs, Meritcare said they were back on track and doing well. In talking about the merger, it was said that it was not due to any financial problems but it was a “merger of equals”. If there truly are financial difficulties, they should just say that so employees understand the reasoning behind some of these decisions without feeling like we were lied to. And your comment about being there to take care of people really doesn’t make any sense. Of course we are there to take care of people and most of us do it very well. That does not mean employees shouldn’t be treated well too.
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And, with all the money that is being spent on new facilities, renting space in expensive buildings and hiring lots of new management–we’ll run thru Denny’s money in no time!
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Waylon dont waste your time with the likes of Jamie, these are the same thickheads that voted for Obama believing his change would be for the better. Everyone knows that the pay freeze was on so when the companys “merged” Sanford would be able to set what the pay raises would be. People like that are the “just be happy with what ya got people”. If everyone had that attitide no one would ever get ahead. Hell we would still be riding in covered wagons and reading by candle light and doing our business in a out house. Oh my gosh shame on you for wanting to do better for yourself and your family. Shame on you for calling it as you see it.
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So any mention of what will happen to the downtown campus (and downtown itself) when this new $300 Million hospital is opened? Didn’t they just spend millions on remodeling and additions?
If a certain local non-profit insurance company was throwing around money like this, it would become a major scandal The Forum. Why does the source of our high health care costs continue to get free passes while spending so much money?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 19 1
I don’t think they need a new hospital. Spending is what got Meritcare into this situation to begin with. I knew when I saw the new entrance with the grand piano that I would be paying for it. Imagine if there is a whole new hospital to pay for!
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What do you mean you’re paying for? Ya the piano is definitely a disgrace. NICE USE OF TAX DOLLARS HERE
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Jamie- I have to agree with Mary. As far as quiting maybe that is what you should do. You obviously do not need the money. After all you could just quit and volunteer and save Sanford whatever your wages are. Then you could be a true samaritan providing all the free patient care you want. Or you could even join the peace corps and do all sorts of good will for nothing. The rest of us like our jobs, we like to help people. We also like to take care of our own families and our own financial commitments. Dont try to make us out to be selfish. A lot of us worked for MeritCare a long time. We just feel we are getting the short end of the stick. If this truley was a merger of equals then why not meet everything 1/2 way..? So Sanford got nothing without contributing now we all just get 3% instead. There we just met 1/2 way . Also since its all about patient care and not the money there should be no more due dates on the Dr. bills Sanford sends out. Also no need to send anyone to collections if they dont pay. Remember this is only about taking care of people not the money. It seems they are using this merger and trying to short change the employees where ever they can and then use the merger for a reason why. Face it what is more important to patient care the people caring for them or a multi million dollar building. Seeing as how combat medics are able to save the lives of soilders in $2,500 tent I am gonna go with the people. However when it comes to buildings the pockets at Sanford are pretty deep. As far as the pension once again every year at my reviews I was reminded of that 6% pension and was told how that actually part of my salary package. If they want to quit it then they should compensate me with more than a 1-2% raise. So tomorrow I assume you will be going to HR and switching your status from a paid emoployee to a volunteer. I also take it my next Dr bill will not have a due date on it..? Nor will I be sent to collections if I dont pay it. After all its not about the money.
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Sounds like Jamie is at the top, like Mary said she knows a awful lot for someone in the trenches. Also I wonder if Jamie is a originally a MeritCare employee or a Sanford one to begin with. Either way she is obvioulsy looking for a utopia. Also I would like to see a respnse from her on the no Due Date on the medical bills and not sending anyone to collections if we are only to be concerned with patient care and not the bottom line. So Jamie should there not be a Due Date on the Dr bills from Sanford..? Should we forgive all debt that is not paid and not send people to collections who dont pay..? After all its just about caring for the patient not the money.
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Like I said before I am low on the totem pole as a Meritcare employee. Next, I talked about how the business needed to be more viable, so bills without due dates is a pathetic attempt to make you look smart. Anyone can see through that attempt. We all know that patient care is most important, but if these changes make you act like this, I can’t believe that you can hold it in when with patients. I suppose this would explain why we get complaints about certain workers. Again you didn’t tell the whole story, if you make an effort to save you will be rewarded with up to 4% of your income. This is better than a lot of businesses around. I never said I was happy with all the changes but doing nothing but complain doesn’t make anyone look good. I need this insurance too, and I am guessing that with increased deductibles will come decreased premiums. I am not defending their way of doing business but helping others to see there is always two sides and as with big business, their side is going to win. I am curious, have you gone to any of the townhall meetings to vent your frustrations, because it is easy to talk tough here, can you back it up in person. Finally, Screwd, nice name. Did you get that from the promise of your future?
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One more note. The things I learned about why they make these changes don’t have anything to do with being privy to their meetings. It a little thing called reading and research, you should try it sometime.
I did, I read it was suppose to be a merger of equals. I am just saying it does not sound like it. I did read how this was suppose to be a good deal I just dont see it. Sounds like its good for the very top. Sounds like a good excuse to weasel out on the employees benifits. I just want to know how and where it was good..? Like I said earlier is this merger going to save patients money on their Dr bills..? Does it make life better for the employees..? You are right this is big business and usually the only way employees can ever deal with the upper hand of such big business is to unionize!
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One more thing you keep talking about doing all this reading. Please let me know where you are getting this reading material..? Is it from the forum..? I did not see anything during the merger or since that has talked about employee benifits being slashed or pay raises falling behind cost of living increases. Please give reference to your reading material as most have not heard of it being covered. We were just blind sided with it a few months ago and most of it was rumor until just recently on Sanford emplyoyees website.
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I am curious, does anyone know if Sanford follows the MeritCare practice by starting people at the bottom wage bracket or do they take years of experience into consideration? I am just curious. I worked for MeritCare for 20 years and know they ALWAYS would screw over new people with experience by staring them out at starting wage or as low as possible. I went to work for a different medical facility outside of the Red River Valley and they start experienced people at midpoint. I thought I needed a hearing test when they told me my starting wage!
I think what everyone is saying here is its hard to have an excited group of employees whom are falling behind financially. Its hard to go do the same job today as yesterday except take less pay for doing it. Remember change is only good when its for the better.
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