The LuLac Edition #1864, December 18th, 2011
MEDICAL COLLEGE BONUSES
The Commonwealth Medical College recently handed out big bonuses to its past President, a Human Resources person and a few other representatives. The term bonus means something given or paid over and above what is due or a sum of money granted or given to an employee, a returned soldier, etc., in addition to regular pay, usually in appreciation for work done, length of service, accumulated favors, etc.
I never, ever received a bonus for the holidays. I got small gifts. When I worked at Rock 107 you picked out one of 5 items as a Christmas gift. They ranged from bottles of liquor to Shamrock Communication items like shot glasses or goblets. I worked at one radio station as a teenager where I was given a Christmas ham. (The cost of it was deducted in the next week’s pay but I guess it was the thought that counted.) When I worked in broadcast sales, I received commission on what I sold. But never a monetary Christmas bonus. When I brought someone on board as a new recruit, I did receive a $100.00 bonus if the person worked out. That happened to me twice. At Travelocity, I was awarded trips to Jamaica, the Bahamas and California. They were not bonuses but part of a sales contest where I competed with other employees. At Blue Cross there was a wellness incentive that translated into extra money but it was strictly monitored and you had to show medical progress, notes from physicians as well as achieving other health and wellness goals. As an employee in business, when I went above and beyond the call of duty, switching shifts, doing overtime or working long hours, I got a nice thank you. Sometimes comp time. Asking around, I talked this week to police and firemen who saved lives, no bonus. I talked to three medical professionals who helped implement a new hospital component a few years back, no bonus. I spoke with those habitually overpaid teachers we all like to complain about, no bonus. One conversation with a local financial principle did indicate a bonus plan but that was for high achievement in saving the company money. Because of the economy, the bonus was capped at $2500.00. No local colleges pay out bonuses to professors who are tenured. I asked. I called the offices of three surgeons known for being the very best in their fields. I inquired as to whether they received bonuses from the hospitals they worked for or the insurance companies they sent their claims to for payment. In each case I had to defend my very phone call because the gate keeper thought I was pranking them.
So I talked to private industry, unionized public service, the health care world and educators on the secondary and college level. No bonuses.
But according to the Scranton Times the following bonuses were paid to Joseph Cortese, for $40,000. He is the director of human resources. Folks, with all due respect to human service professionals everywhere, this is outrageous. Almost every Human Resource person I’ve ever encountered possesses a dolt like quality that gives them the uncanny ability to push papers and not look you square in the eye. What the hell did Cortese do to get a $40,000 bonus on top of his salary? Who did he recruit? Did he get any financial rainmakers for the board? Did he bring on board certified Nobel Peace Prize winners as faculty members? If he did, the Commonwealth Medical College Public Relations office is keeping that a big fat secret. $10,000 was paid to Anna Rusnak Noon, associate vice president, financial and administration; and $15,000 to Mike Foy, the former director of financial reporting. The Commonwealth Medical College is bleeding bright red. Was the bonus given to Noon for administering the fact that the Medical College was in the red and did Foy get the $15,000 grand to jump up and down and shout, “Yes indeed, we are dying quickly financially”?
And how about this, . more than $95,000 in bonus money was paid to Dr. Robert D'Alessandri, the former president, on top of his $456,974 base salary; a $50,000 bonus was received by Dr. Paul Katz, a former vice dean of faculty and clinical affairs, whose base salary was $365,072. What were they paid for? To leave? Was there a bonus in their original contract? Did they get that much money for a good evaluation or bad evaluation?The school is under probation. Did they earn that money for that distinction?
The Commonwealth Medical College is a good idea. It sparks the economy of Scranton. It is needed to bring in well trained doctors to the state of Pennsylvania. But from the get go the administrative salaries were out of whack. People who were incompetent elsewhere (and I got names folks) got bigger salary bumps at the College. How the hell did that happen?
Then there is the moral issue we should address. What type of person, what type of employee takes a substantial bonus when people around them are getting laid off or their salaries cut? How do they sleep at night? I’m sorry, they can’t be that special!
The Medical College needs to give itself a financial and personnel enema. It was founded with public money through the good offices of Robert Mellow. Public money. It was funded in part by private citizen money paid to insurance giant Blue Cross of Northern Pennsylvania who used part of their surplus to bankroll the school. But I doubt BCNEPA thought their money was going for bonuses!
A message needs to be sent to the Commonwealth Medical College Board. In an area where the average family salary, yes I said average family, not individual salary is under $40,000 grand, board members of TCMC should be told that:
1. The College will not get any support for is fundraising efforts.
2. The College should open up all of its employees salaries.
3. The College should halt the practice of bonuses.
4. Blue Cross, as the school’s principle funding body should hear from its members on the issue of the bonuses. Should money paid for member insurance premiums as part of BCNEPA’s surplus be used for obscene bonuses for TCMC employees who clearly didn’t deserve them? (There is a civil rights suit making that claim).
It’s one thing to pay someone a living wage, quite another to make fools out of a community that supports an educational entity on the premise that it will provide dividends in the future.
The Commonwealth Medical College has lost not only its luster but something more important that it needs to survive, the good will and support of a community that never sees any type of bonus, let alone one for $40,000!!!
If you feel these bonuses are unjust and counter intuitive to the mission of the medical college, here is a list of their board members.
COMMONWEALTH MEDICAL COLLEGE BOARD MEMBERS
TCMC is governed by a regional Board of Directors who contribute their time in order to guide the school and its development. These civic leaders contribute many hours of meeting time to make sure the school is developing in a way that leads the region in better health care and education.
Louis DeNaples, Chair, TCMC Board of Trustees, is a businessman and entrepreneur with business interests in more than 200 companies. He serves on the boards of Community Medical Center, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and is the former chair of the Board of the University of Scranton Board of Trustees. Mr. DeNaples chairs the Construction Committee and the Governance Committee.
Robert Naismith, PhD, serves as Chairman and CEO of Roosevelt Capital Partners, LLC. Formerly he served as Chairman and CEO of Life Science Analytics and Managing Director of London-based Datamonitor, Inc. Dr. Naismith co-founded Pharmakon Research International, Inc., a major international preclinical contract research organization and founded Biofor, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company where he served as its President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Naismith serves as a Director of Penn Security Bank, St. Charles Pharmaceuticals, the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA; a Trustee of the William Harvey Research Institute; Chairman of the International Advisory Board of BioAsia, Hyderabad, India and a member of the Kania School of Management’s Advisory Board at the University of Scranton. Formerly he held an adjunct associate professor in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, served as an adjunct professor at The Pennsylvania State University and the University of Scranton and currently at The Commonwealth Medical College. Dr. Naismith holds a PhD in genetics from the Pennsylvania State University.
Thomas Karam, is the president of Delphi Midstream Partners. Before establishing Delphi Midstream Partners, Thomas was president, chief operating officer and director of Southern Union Company. Prior to Southern Union, he was the president and CEO of Pennsylvania Enterprises, Inc. (PEI) and PE Energy, Inc. PEI was a NYSE-listed company which owned gas and water utility operations in Pennsylvania. While at Southern Union, Thomas successfully completed $4.25 billion in midstream acquisitions and implemented strategies incrementally increasing earnings by approximately 13% annually. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Northeastern Pennsylvania and The Commonwealth Medical Education Corporation. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of CrossCountry Energy, LLC, Southern Union Company, American Gas Association, the Board of Trustees of the University of Scranton and also served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Team Pennsylvania. Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Scranton. Mr. Karam serves as the Treasurer of TCMC.
Linda Thomas, MD, is a practicing, academic primary care provider, dually board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. Her practice is successfully engaged in the PA Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform’s Practice Transformation Initiative and provides a thriving inter-professional, medical home learning environment for primary care workforce development. Dr. Thomas-Hemak directs the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and led the 2011 HRSA designation for Primary Care GME Teaching Health Center federal funding. A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, she completed Harvard’s Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency at Mass General Hospital, Boston. She is a founding TCMC board member, Secretary of the Board and Strategic Planning Committee Chair. She holds a volunteer faculty appointment at TCMC.
Denise Cesare is CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and has supported the concept of a medical school for NEPA from the beginning. She serves on the boards of the Foundation Board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania, John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Wilkes University’s Board of Trustees, and is active with the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton Chambers of Commerce.
James Hallock, MD, is retired and the former president and chief executive officer of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates in Philadelphia and currently Senior Scholar in FAIMER. He served as vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the Medical School at East Carolina University (1988-2001) and spent many years in leadership positions at the University of South Florida. Dr. Hallock has been an accreditation site reviewer and member of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, member of the National Board of Medical Examiners and its Executive Board, as Board Chair for the Foundation for Advancement of Medical Education and Research and has served as chair of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
John Moses is an attorney in Wilkes-Barre and former CEO of ALSAC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Active in the Wilkes-Barre community, Mr. Moses is also chair of the Board of Blue Cross of NEPA, a board member for Villanova University School of Law, Chairman of First Priority Health and a Director of First National Community Bank. He is presently of counsel with the law firm of Cozen O'Connor. Mr. Moses chairs the Audit Committee.
Murray Ufberg is a partner in the law firm of Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, L.L.P., in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is active in the community, serving on the Boards of Directors for Misericordia University, the Jewish Community Center of Wyoming Valley, the Jewish Federation of Greater Wilkes-Barre and WVIA Public Television. He also serves on the Keystone College President's Advisory Council. He has served as a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission and on the Executive Committee of Governor Edward Rendell’s Transition Team. Mr. Ufberg chairs the Compensation Committee.
Robert Wright, MD, began the Scranton Temple Residency Program in internal medicine and directed the program for many years. He was integral in the development of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) and creating community support and understanding for the endeavor. Dr. Wright is a graduate of the Temple School of Medicine and did his residency at Temple and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a Professor of Medicine in the Temple University School of Medicine. He holds a volunteer faculty appointment at TCMC.
BLUE CROSS SURPLUS USED
If you are a Blue Cross subscriber in LuLac land or the multi county area of Blue Cross coverage, and feel that a portion of your premiums (you pay premiums so the insurance company can pay your medical claims, that’s where your money primarily goes) that are converted to a surplus should not be paid for bonuses….you can voice that concern by calling these toll free numbers.
BLUE CROSS OF NEPA CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBERS
OFFICE OF SENATOR JOHN BLAKE
If you are a constituent of the 22nd Senatorial district or a voter in the state of Pennsylvania, this bonus issue needs to be addressed to the Senate of Pennsylvania. Senator Robert Mellow was instrumental in getting the funding for this worthy project that has been bastardized by greedy stewards of the institution. There has to be some accountability for the spending of this tax payer money. Here is a number for State Senator John Blake who succeeded Robert Mellow.
Scranton, PA 18503
(570) 207-2881 • Fax: (570) 207-2897
Archbald, PA 18403
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3022
Toll free: 1-877-346-5721.
If you choose to contact any of these entities, you need to ask these questions:
1. What exactly did these people do to get these bonuses?
2. What specific heroic beyond the call of duty action did they perform to merit such an increase?
3. Will the public that essentially has funded the Medical College get the answers to questions 1 and 2?
Make your voice heard if you care about this incredible abuse of public and private money. `