Dishonesty

So the comment in this post did not refer to Deborah Stebbins or the new service being considered.

But let me give an example so any reader can independently evaluate why I do not believe the arguments for the new service will be honestly presented.  The following is quite representative of the type of statements that Stebbins will make and which I consider less than truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  In the video for the September 12 meeting.  Stebbins states (about 1:05):

“But I have to be honest that the majority of what will improve, even beyond what we have budgeted, and I think there is a perception [editor: Hello readers associated with District Management] that we have not hit budget in the past few years.  In fact, prior to 2011, in 2009/2010 we exceeded our budgeted bottom line. We hope to do that again; that’s always our target to exceed budget.”

Now this quote contains two ideas conflated.  One is that the perception that the District has not hit budget is incorrect and that 2009/2010, was, in fact above the budget.  (Why can I hear John Stewart in my head going, “Pow! Take that Mr. Gorelick, can’t execute a budget?  You’re so wrong; 2009/2010 was awesome!”)

Stebbins has been CEO of the District for almost four years.  She should consider herself primarily responsible for the financial performance for 2007/8, 2008/9, 2009/10, and 2010/11.  The June 30, 2007 audited financial statements show net assets for the hospital of 9.9 million dollars.  The June 30, 2008 audited financial statements show net assets of 7.4 million dollars.  In other words, In her first year as CEO, Stebbins underperformed the budget by 2.5 million dollars.  The June 30, 2009 audited financial statement show net assets of 8.1 million dollars which overperformed the budget by a significant amount (some 600k).  A mixed bag through those first two years, but nothing to suggest a fundamental problem.

In 2009/2010, the budget called for the hospital to have a net income of 360k and the June 30, 2010 audited financial statements show net assets of 10.1 million dollars.  In other words, a net income of about 2.0 million dollars which greatly exceeded that years budgeted number.  In fact, Stebbins at this point had added slightly to the net assets from the time she took over.  (Keep in mind though that this feat -about a 200k increase, even without the closer look I want to take below, was only possible with over 17 million dollars of tax subsidy from the parcel tax.  Perhaps not so great a performance?) 

Let’s take a closer look at 2009/10 (all numbers unaudited – in thousands):

Month     YTD Budget     YTD Actual     YTD Cumulative
7/09             18                     61                  +43
8/09             34                   103                  +69
9/09           104                   107                  +  3
10/09         127                   142                  +15                 
11/09         cannot access – 404 error
12/09           74                  (151)                -224
1/10            133                 (  74)                -207
2/10            205                 (  30)                -235
3/10            233                 (    5)                -228
4/10            319                 (245)                -564
5/10            340                 (353)                -692
6/10a          359                 (335)                -694
6/10b          —                  2165              +1471

So look at the line labeled 6/10b.  That line represents the IGT money received by the District which was NOT part of the budget for 2009/2010.  Without that “bluebird” as Director Battani characterized it, there is no way that Stebbins could have “exceeded our budget bottom line” for 2009/2010.

Furthermore, as I have documented here, there is no way that Stebbins can contend that Management came close to meeting the 2010/2011 budget.  The unaudited results suggest a miss of between 1.5 and 2 million dollars (depending on how you true up surprises).  We also know that Stebbins (and the management team) cannot point to July, 2011’s results as any indication that they can follow a budget.  In just one month, 135k has already been lost which means a miss vs. budget in just one month of 238k. 

Bottom line, the Hospital has lost money over Stebbins’s tenure, not come close to generating enough cash flow to fund the seismic retrofit, and only survives due to “free” money either in the form of the parcel tax or IGT money.  Readers, please evaluate this information and judge for yourself whether that “perception” she calls out is a misperception or reality.

About egorelick

Gadfly. Former City of Alameda Healthcare District Board member.
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2 Responses to Dishonesty

  1. notoz says:

    Mr. Gorelick: you are RIGHT to push for evidence-based management and leadership at the hospital and the district! THANK YOU from me and on behalf of the 76K Alameda residents.

    Bob Sutton writes about how important it is to follow the evidence and not your “instincts”; and he mentions a recent study on the power of accepting and acting on evidence, even when it clashes with ingrained beliefs:

    http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/09/our-new-york-times-piece-on-evidence-based-management-the-uncut-version.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2FBobsutton%2Fmy_weblog+%28Bob+Sutton%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

  2. mosaicland says:

    I think it's clear what's going on here: The Healthcare board exists only to collect the parcel which is all that keeps the Hospital afloat. That Dr. Deutsch continues to serve as a voting member of this board only underscores this fact: he votes for a parcel tax that enables him to stay in business. Because without the hospital feeding him patients, he's be out of business.

    There is another function for the board, of course: Budding politicians see it as a steppingstone to the city council and beyond. Lena Tam and Rob Bonta – who could hardly wait to declare himself in the upcoming Supervisor's race – are the evidence. After all, where else can you get hands-on experience laying to voters in order to fleece them for big bucks?

    Thank you Elliott. You are a truth-teller.

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