The massive hack of the Office of Personnel Management has raised questions about whether government contractors may have inadvertently made the agency more vulnerable to attack. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking to question two contractors that OPM hired to perform background checks on job candidates seeking positions that require a security clearance. …. The issue of contractor vulnerability is underscored by the fact that OPM’s current contractor — KeyPoint Government Solutions of Colorado — was hacked last year. That attack followed one against OPM’s previous contractor, Virginia-based USIS, which also occurred in 2014. ….
The past year has seen the states of Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania close deals with the private sector to undertake some long-awaited transportation projects. But much of the talk at a recent conference on public-private partnerships, also known as P3s, revolved around why the market for such projects remains sluggish in the United States. … Joseph Aiello, chief of business development at the global infrastructure firm Meridiam, said uncertainty about what long-term role Washington will play in transportation funding is one factor keeping the P3 market from growing. …. Another significant factor holding back P3s, some say, is the impact of recent political turnover that has brought with it changing priorities in a number of states…. Speakers at the InfraAmericas forum also cited a number of other possible reasons the P3 market remains slow in the U.S., including:
• A continuing learning curve and knowledge gap among state officials when it comes to P3s;
• Recent challenges experienced by some P3 toll roads;
• The length of time it takes for projects to clear environmental hurdles and other obstacles;
• The complexity of the American market, including P3 laws that differ from one state and one jurisdiction to the next; and
• The complexity of the projects and the deals themselves. ….
….When it comes to inflicting debt on low-income students, among the worst offenders are the for-profit “universities,” to which Mettler devotes an excoriating chapter. In the last several decades these institutions have seen explosive growth. With the contraction of state budgets and the changing demographics of college students—many today are adult part-time students, often with families, seeking skills and credentials with which they hope to get or hold a job—the for-profit institutions, which specialize in online and night classes, proliferated and expanded. In 1990 there were 343 for-profit colleges. By 2009 there were 1,199, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all college students, many of them vulnerable and needy—military veterans, single parents, dropouts from traditional institutions who are un- or underemployed.
Mettler tells hair-raising stories about telemarketers who prey on prospective students with misleading promises, and are then rewarded with bonuses or free vacations if they reach enrollment quotas. She describes “an auto repair school in Ohio that was actually run out of a fruit stand” and a beautician school that tells students to expect annual earnings up to $250,000. These are small operations, but the largest for-profits such as the University of Phoenix, whose enrollment peaked at nearly 600,000 in 2010, are several times the size of the largest public universities such as Arizona State or Ohio State.
Large or small, fair or fraudulent, the for-profits have a smart business plan: keep costs down by forgoing a campus and offering courses taught by part-time employees, while pulling in maximum revenue in the form of government grants to students and government-guaranteed student loans. In 1991 Congress passed a rule requiring that in order to qualify for accreditation, a for-profit must show that at least 15 percent of its income comes from nongovernment sources, but in 1998 the rule was watered down to 10 percent. “Despite being regarded as part of the private sector,” as Mettler puts it, “the for-profits are financed almost entirely by American taxpayers.” For investors in these enterprises, it’s been a great plan. For many if not most of their students, whose debt and default rates are proportionally higher than their counterparts in traditional colleges, it’s been a less happy story…..
…. The reforms, which sailed through the Legislature after problems surfaced about a $110 million contract that the Health and Human Services Commission handed to local technology company 21CT, are far from comprehensive….. The new rules in Senate Bill 20 limit the program to purchases under $1 million, require agencies to develop statements of work that justify the purchases and mandate that agencies reach out to multiple vendors on the pre-approved contractor list….
Despite Controls, Texas Contracts Plagued with Scandal
Source: Brian M. Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle, April 24, 2015
Lawmakers now are considering giving more training to workers and creating a central contracts database.
Texas Senate OKs changes to state contracting laws after scandal
Source: Brian M. Rosenthal, Houston Chronicle, March 31, 2015
The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a series of changes to state contracting laws, giving its unanimous support to a package intended to help move on from months of scandal about favoritism and irregularities in outsourcing. The proposal, Senate Bill 20, now moves to the state House…. Among other provisions, the legislation from Senate budget writer Jane Nelson would increase transparency, including by establishing a central contracting database; seek to stop the revolving door of people switching from being state employees to private contractors, and vice versa; and require agency oversight boards to approve large contracts, and agency heads to sign them. The bill also takes aim at the controversial Cooperative Contracts program, which was used for the scandal-plauged contract that spurred the changes….
Governor’s strike force strikes back at contract failures; law’s limits ‘skirted’
Source: Jody Seaborn, American-Statesman blog, March 30, 2015
A “strike force” deployed by Gov. Greg Abbott to investigate failures by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to manage contracts between it and private businesses released its findings Monday morning. The report’s executive summary and a quick read of the whole report leaves this impression: “Policy fiasco” describes the report’s findings both appropriately and yet insufficiently…The health agency’s failures, identified by the American-Statesman in a series of stories over the past few months, underscore the need to strengthen the oversight of state contracts. State lawmakers have filed several bills that would tighten oversight, improve transparency and protect taxpayer dollars in response to the Statesman’s reporting. This month, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved a contract reform bill filed by Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound. Nelson’s Senate Bill 20 would restrict no-bid contracts. Her bill also would require that all state agencies standardize the way they track and report contracts….
More than two dozen awards worth more than $124 million were made to companies without a formal staff review by the underwriting department of Gov. Scott Walker’s economic development agency, it reported Friday. Documents detailing the awards were made public late Friday afternoon in advance of a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board meeting on July 20 to discuss one troubled unsecured loan that went to a failing company owned by a Walker donor. The Republican Walker, who is expected to formally launch a presidential campaign in mid-July, has been hounded by troubles with the quasi-private jobs agency he created shortly after taking office in 2011….
Scott Walker Faulted for Failures of Wisconsin State Agency
Source: Alan Rappeport, New York Times, May 22, 2015
….. Critics from both parties have been suggesting that Mr. Walker’s mismanagement was responsible for the organization’s failure to create as many jobs as it was supposed to and for mishandling funds. A state audit released this month said the agency “did not have sufficient policies, including some that are statutorily required, to administer its programs effectively.” …. Democrats are also seizing on the fact that, under Mr. Walker’s watch in 2011, the development agency lent $500,000 of taxpayer money to Building Committee Inc, which had failed to pay taxes the previous year.
Top Scott Walker aides pushed for questionable $500,000 WEDC loan
Source: Matthew DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal, May 18, 2015
Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides and a powerful lobbyist pressed for a taxpayer-funded loan in 2011 to a financially struggling Milwaukee construction company that lost the state half a million dollars, created no jobs and raised questions about where the money went, a State Journal investigation has found. The extraordinary steps led the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. in 2011 to award a $500,000 unsecured loan to Building Committee Inc., owned by William Minahan, for a proposed project to retrofit bank and credit union buildings for energy efficiency….
As Scott Walker mulls White House bid, a spotlight on his jobs agency
Source: Andy Sullivan, Reuters, February 16, 2015
When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential candidate, traveled on a trade mission to Britain last week, he brought along top officials from his economic development agency to help drum up jobs. It’s a task they have struggled to accomplish at home. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private body set up by Walker shortly after he took office in January 2011, was supposed to help the state climb out of recession by shedding bureaucratic rules and drawing on private-sector expertise. But the WEDC has fallen short of its own goals by tens of thousands of jobs and failed to keep track of millions of dollars it has handed out. ….
Scott Walker’s Offshoring Flip-flop
Source: Roger Bybee, In These Times, August 20, 2014
Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s convenient crusade against offshoring may prove to be surprisingly good for the state’s working people. … A new report from the liberal research and advocacy group One Wisconsin Now reveals just how hypocritical Walker’s new stance is. One Wisconsin Now points out a number of grants from the Walker-privatized Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation a number of job-creation grants had gone to firms engaged in sending jobs to states other than Wisconsin, and outside of the U.S. itself. (It also notes that 60 percent of that funding from went to businesses that donated to Walker’s 2010 campaign.) … The firms that have announced relocation of jobs or expansions in low-wage nations, especially Mexico and China—possibly portending in many cases a loss of additional Wisconsin jobs in the future—during Walker’s tenure comprise a substantial list: Harley-Davidson, will be moving roughly 500 jobs from Milwaukee to India; General Electric has moved the headquarters of its Medical Equipment Division to Beijing, China from the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha; Caterpillar laid off more than 300 workers in its South Milwaukee plant while announcing the opening of new manufacturing facilities in Wuxi, China; Thermo-Fisher is moving 1,100 jobs from Two Rivers to Mexico; and Manitowoc Co. plans to cut more than 150 jobs in Wisconsin over the next two years as it shifts production to Monterrey, Mexico. …
Outrage over outsourcing: Has Walker’s job creation agency given money to companies that outsource jobs?
Source: WITI, July 28, 2014
…Walker has harshly criticized Trek for taking taxpayer money and sending jobs overseas. An examination of WEDC records show is own jobs agency may have given money to companies that did the same thing. According to the WEDC’s annual report, Chicago-based printing giant RR Donnelley was given a $140,000 tax credit, saying it planned to make a $316,000 capital investment, but actually invested zero. The company said it would create 75 jobs, but actually only created seven…. In company literature, RR Donnelley describes itself as “a leader in outsource solutions.” …
Latest Finance Report Shows Walker Took Another $167,000 from Businesses That Got WEDC Funds /Walker Has Gotten Almost $1.2 Million from Companies Getting Taxpayer Funds from WEDC, While Wisconsin Ranks Dead Last in the Midwest in Jobs
Source: One Wisconsin Now, Press Release, July 28, 2014
A review of Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent campaign finance report reveals he continues to reap a windfall of campaign donations, nearly $167,000 in just the last six months, from individuals associated with state businesses getting tax breaks, loans and grants through his Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The latest information comes on the heels of a report from One Wisconsin Now that found Gov. Walker’s WEDC doled out 60 percent of its economic development funds to businesses donating $1 million to Walker’s campaign… A media report on WKOW-TV in Madison also detailed how two companies that received WEDC awards of state tax credits worth up to nearly $20 million subsequently laid off 279 Wisconsin workers and expanded their operations in Mexico and other overseas locations including China, Romania, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany and the United Kingdom. It was also reported that individuals on the boards of the companies are longtime Walker donors and have given the Governor roughly $20,000 in contributions….
UPDATE: WEDC award recipients outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries
Source: Greg Neumann, WKOW-TV, July 9, 2014 (Updated July 28, 2014)
At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC award after the fact. A 27 News investigation has uncovered that both the Eaton Corporation and Plexus Corporation received millions of dollars in financial awards from WEDC, only to later lay off workers whose jobs were taken by employees at the companies’ foreign facilities. In 2011, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with up to $1 million in tax credits if the company met job creation and retention goals at its manufacturing facility in Menomonee Falls. WEDC officials say the company has received $190,000 in tax credits so far. …
UPDATE: Companies that outsourced jobs donated primarily to Walker campaign
Source: Greg Neumann, WKOW-TV, July 10, 2014 (Updated: July 25, 2014)
Members of the board of directors for two companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs after accepting financial incentives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have donated close to $20,000 to Gov. Scott Walker’s campaigns since 2005. Wisconsin campaign finance records show Plexus Corp. board members David Drury and Ralf Boer have each made donations to Walker’s campaign. Boer, an attorney and partner in the Foley and Lardner law firm in Milwaukee, has donated a total of $2,300 to the Walker campaign since 2006. Drury, the CEO of Poblocki Sign Company in Milwaukee, has donated $15,800 to Walker’s campaign since 2005. One board member for the Eaton Corp., Gregory Page, an executive with Cargill in Minnesota, made a single donation of $1,000 to the Governor’s campaign in 2013. …
Only 5,840 ‘actual’ jobs from Walker’s WEDC
Source: Mary Bottari, Capital Times, June 10, 2014
This July marks the three-year anniversary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Gov. Scott Walker’s flagship economic development agency. WEDC has been mired in allegations of incompetence and skirting the law since 2012, but how has it performed when it comes to its top priority of creating jobs for the people of Wisconsin? Two official state data sets indicate that for every verifiable job Walker’s WEDC managed to create, the state lost more than two to plant closings and layoffs….
W is for WEDC – Gov. Scott Walker’s Privatized Commerce Department: A Case Study in Corruption, Cronyism and Incompetence
Source: Jenni Dye, One Wisconsin Now, May 29, 2014
From the press release:
A report released today by One Wisconsin Now analyzing state funds distributed by the quasi-private Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), created by Gov. Scott Walker, raises serious questions about who is really benefitting. The report found that owners or employees of 30 percent of businesses receiving WEDC assistance contributed to Gov. Walker’s campaign or the Republican Governors Association (RGA). Meanwhile these same businesses received almost 60 percent of WEDC economic development funds – $570 million in total….
Among the key findings of the report, “W is for WEDC”, are:
∙ Gov. Walker received a more than $1 million direct campaign benefit and $1 million to the RGA from WEDC aid recipients, who in turn received nearly 60 percent of economic development dollars – $570 million of the $975 million distributed.
∙ WEDC economic development dollars are not resulting in promised job creation.
∙ WEDC fund recipients include companies engaged in health and safety violations, mass layoffs and conflicts of interest…..
One Wisconsin Now says WEDC money going to Scott Walker donors like Edgewater
Source: Mike Ivey, Capital Times, May 30, 2014
A liberal advocacy group is leveling heavy criticism at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, claiming the quasi-private agency championed by Gov. Scott Walker is delivering financial assistance to campaign donors. The report from One Wisconsin Now maintains that nearly 60 percent of some $975 million in assistance distributed by WEDC went to firms that had contributed to Walker or the Republican Governor’s Association.
UPDATE: Audit reveals WEDC broke state law
Source: Greg Neumann, WKOW, May 1, 2013
The public/private agency Governor Scott Walker created to grow 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin is in violation of state law. That’s what an audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) shows. The non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau released a detailed report of its audit Wednesday. The report shows that from July 2011 to December 2012, WEDC failed to follow a number of state statutes in their financial and job creation reporting, awarded loans and grants to ineligible projects and failed to keep track of spending within the organization itself…. The LAB report states WEDC never kept track of the job creation efforts for a group of companies it awarded money to, which in turn prevented the agency from presenting legislators with accurate information on its job creation efforts last November. Both are required of the agency under state law.
Wisconsin jobs agency failed in tracking taxpayer money, audit finds
Source: Jason Stein, Journal Sentinel, May 1, 2013
A stinging audit has found that the state’s flagship jobs agency last year failed in a number of cases to follow basic standards in state law for ensuring transparent and accountable use of taxpayer money, prompting immediate calls for changes from GOP lawmakers. The audit from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found that last year the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. didn’t verify or require performance information or financial statements from companies receiving financial incentives and awarded nearly $1 million in tax credits to companies for actions taken before they had signed their contracts with the state.
State jobs agency adds 3rd finance chief in 2 years, then loses him in a day
Source: Jason Stein, Journal Sentinel, April 24, 2013
This week the state’s flagship jobs agency brought on its third chief financial officer in less than two years – only to see him resign within 24 hours to take a promotion at his former company. The news comes as the still relatively new Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is seeking to shift public attention from its own internal difficulties to what it can do to help meet the state’s much larger economic challenges. WEDC has gone six months without a permanent CFO and had turnover among other top executives at a time when it is trying to strengthen its financial controls.
Competent management needed at WEDC
Source: Editorial Board, Journal Sentinel, December 5, 2012
The state’s lead economic development agency needs to clean up its act, but the public-private model remains a good idea.
State economic development corp. under review / The group failed to track loans worth $12 million
Source: Mary Spicuzza and Dee J. Hall, Wisconsin State Journal, December 1, 2012
The state’s top jobs agency said Friday that it hired a financial institution and an accounting company to review its financial practices after it failed to track loans totaling about $12 million. And officials with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. said the quasi-public agency’s failure to track millions of dollars in loans wasn’t because of any misconduct they have uncovered, but rather because the agency — which lost more than 80 percent of its staff when it was created from the old Department of Commerce — didn’t allocate the time or personnel needed to keep track of the money it had loaned Wisconsin businesses.
Some borrowers of taxpayer-financed loans now bankrupt
Source: Jason Stein, Journal Sentinel, December 3, 2012
iPads put $60,000 byte on Wisconsin taxpayers
Source: Daniel Bice, Journal Sentinel, Oct. 7, 2011
Wis. gov introduces members of development corp
Source: Todd Richmond, Associated Press, May 19, 2011
Proposed privitization of Commerce Dept. get hearing
Source: WFRV News, January 13, 2011
State workers face privatization / Walker plan reorganizes Commerce Department
Source: Jason Stein, Journal Sentinel, January 6, 2011
Madison — Some of the 340 Department of Commerce workers would no longer be state employees under a job creation proposal by Gov. Scott Walker to partly privatize the agency. According to new details made public by Walker Thursday, the proposed Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. would still receive annual audits by nonpartisan state staff – one way to provide oversight of how the agency awards large taxpayer incentives to businesses….
…The Commerce Department is a midsize agency, with about 340 employees and an annual budget of $183 million in state and federal money. Under the bill, workers transferred from the agency to the proposed Economic Development Corp. would not be state workers and might or might not remain part of the state retirement system, depending on a decision by the new agency’s board. Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch would also be given the power to cut jobs at the Commerce Department….
…The closest model for the proposed Wisconsin agency is an Indiana entity that has faced criticism for not releasing some figures on costly subsidies received by individual companies and on the number of jobs they created with them….
…The legislation released Thursday made no obvious references to whether the agency would be subject to open government laws or audits. But Werwie said the Economic Development Corp. would be subject to the open records and audit requirement because already existing state laws would apply to the new body as it is set up in the bill. The legislation said that the salary for the head of the Economic Development Corp. would be determined by the agency’s board. That appeared to remove a current cap on the salary of the state commerce secretary now set at $135,300….
Subsidy transparency a must
Source: Shannon Nelson, Journal Sentinel, January 1, 2011
Laz Parking has fired its Atlanta-based vice president of government services who is the subject of an FBI investigation over alleged bribe-taking. The company said Saturday that it had conducted its own internal investigation and decided to terminate the employee. The Courant is not identifying the former employee because no charges have been filed against him. The FBI is investigating whether the former executive was paid $90,000 in bribes to steer a contract to install and maintain privatized parking meters in Chicago.
LAZ Parking Exec on Administrative Leave After Report of FBI Probe
Source: NBC Chicago, June 18, 2015
The firm that manages Chicago’s privatized parking meters has put an executive who fell under federal scrutiny on administrative leave. Federal agents have been investigating the LAZ Parking executive on allegations he took kickbacks to steer a contract for meters in Chicago to a favored company, the Chicago Sun-Times first reported earlier this week. The executive allegedly received $90,000 in bribe payments to steer the contract for parking meters in Chicago, which produced gross revenues of $22 million and monthly service fees, according to an affidavit. The FBI filed an affidavit in February to search two email accounts tied to the executive, who called the allegations “news to me” and declined to comment when a reporter first contacted him. ….
Possible bribery probed over deal to supply Chicago’s privatized parking meters
Source: Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, June 18, 2015
The FBI is investigating whether an executive at the firm that manages Chicago’s privatized parking meters was paid $90,000 in bribes to steer a contract to install and maintain the controversial meters across the city. The alleged kickback scheme was laid out in an FBI search warrant affidavit filed in February seeking access to two email accounts tied to the vice president of government services at LAZ Parking, the firm hired by a Morgan Stanley-led business consortium in 2008 to manage the privatized meters in Chicago. According to the 17-page filing that was made public recently, the LAZ executive met with the president and CEO of another firm, identified only as Company A, at a Florida restaurant in late 2008, as the city’s much-maligned $1.2 billion deal to lease the meters for 75 years was being finalized. At the meeting, the CEO offered to give kickbacks to the LAZ executive in exchange for steering the contract to install the parking meters to Company A, according to the affidavit. They also made a “side agreement” for additional bribes if other business, such as extended warranties on the meters, was given to the company in the future.
Feds focus on LAZ executive for alleged parking meter bribe
Source: Jon Seidel, Chicago Sun-Times, June 16, 2015
Federal agents have been investigating an executive with the firm that manages Chicago’s privatized parking meters on allegations he took kickbacks to steer a meter contract to a favored company, according to a court record obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. FBI agents filed an affidavit for a search warrant in February to search two email accounts tied to an executive of LAZ Parking who allegedly received $90,000 in bribe payments to steer the contract for parking meters, which produced gross revenues of $22 million and monthly service fees. The Sun-Times is not naming the executive because he has not been charged. When reached Tuesday, he said the allegations in the FBI affidavit were “news to me” and declined to comment further. The FBI declined to comment….
While the city is strapped for cash, the private parking meter company makes millions of dollars more
Source: Mick Dumke, Chicago Reader, May 6, 2015
As Mayor Rahm Emanuel searches for money to cope with the city’s grave financial health, the private firm that controls Chicago’s parking meter system collected another $131 million from city drivers in 2014 to wrap up its most lucrative year yet, according to a financial audit posted Tuesday on the city’s website. Chicago Parking Meters LLC has now hauled in $633 million in revenues since it took over the street parking system six years ago, audits show. That’s more than half the $1.2 billion the firm paid the city for the system, and CPM gets to keep the meter revenues for 69 more years.
Hundreds ticketed in error despite using ParkChicago app
Source: John Byrne, Chicago Tribune, July 7, 2014
The new mobile parking payment technology being rolled out by the company that leased Chicago’s meters has led to more than 300 tickets being issued in error to cars parked legally in the past 10 weeks. Since the ParkChicago smartphone app was launched in mid-April at a few hundred parking spots in the West Loop and expanded to other neighborhoods, 317 cars have been ticketed that still had time on their meters, according to Scott Burnham, spokesman for Chicago Parking Meters LLC….The smartphone pay option was a key part of the tweaks Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled in April 2013 to the widely reviled meter lease brokered by his predecessor, Richard M. Daley. The ability for drivers to add more time to their meters without walking back to their cars was part of what Emanuel termed “making the best of a bad situation” with regard to the city’s $1.1-billion, 75-year deal with Chicago Parking Meters LLC. The ParkChicago app was launched with a few hundred spots in the West Loop, and Langsdorf said it has since been rolled out to all 36,000 metered spaces across the city. Roughly 50,000 people have registered to use it, Burnham said. City Hall paid $6.5 million during the past year to Chicago Parking Meters LLC for parking meters taken out of service, the Tribune reported last week. That’s roughly $500,000 more than Emanuel’s administration predicted when it renegotiated the meter deal last year….
Private Meter Readers Wrote Hundreds of Thousands of Tickets, Data Shows
Source: Mike Brockway, DNAinfo Chicago, December 31, 2013
For the past few years, city parking meter enforcement crews have had a private team of ticket writers helping them do their jobs — and helping fill the city’s coffers with millions of dollars in additional revenues. The team actually works for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private company that took over control of the city’s 36,000 metered-parking spaces in the infamous 75-year deal that jacked up parking rates and lengthened the hours of enforcement all over the city. But part of the deal the company made with the city gave it the right to help enforce the meters — by writing more tickets than the cash-strapped city’s own parking enforcers could do otherwise. In fact, the company has very quietly issued hundreds of thousands of tickets for expired meter violations since 2010, city parking data obtained through a Freedom of Information request shows. Meter teams working for Chicago Parking Meters now write nearly one-third of all tickets issued citywide for expired meter violations, the data shows. A company spokesman said the private crew actually works for LAZ Parking, which Chicago Parking Meters contracts to maintain and enforce the meters….
Emanuel’s parking meter plan clears key vote
Source: Alex Keefe, WBEZ, June 3, 2013
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s changes to the much-hated parking meter privatization contract are now headed for the full City Council, after easily clearing a key committee vote on Monday. The plan passed out of the Finance Committee on a 15 to 6 vote, despite some aldermen’s concerns that the changes could lead to another windfall for Chicago Parking Meters LLC, which runs the city’s 36,000 metered spaces. Under Emanuel’s proposal, the city would save about $25 million a year from lowered reimbursement costs it pays to CPM whenever a meter is taken out of service, whether for street construction or a festival.
Parking Meter Revenue Up $30M in 2012
Source: Dick Johnson, NBC 5 Chicago, WMAQ -TV, May 7, 2013
Mayor Rahm Emanuel expected to introduce negotiated settlement with Chicago Parking Meters to the City Council… Chicago officials on Tuesday said commuters paid nearly $140 million to park on city streets in 2012. That’s more than $30 million more than was paid in 2011 and $115 million more than parkers paid in 2008, the last year the city managed the meters before turning them over to Chicago Parking Meters LLC in a 75-year, $1.2 billion privatization deal….Just $1.5 million remains of the $1.2 billion the city received.
Company’s 2012 Parking Revenue Still Unknown
Source: Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5 Chicago, WMAQ -TV, May 7, 2013
Chicago settles parking meter payment dispute, mayor says
Source: Karen Pierog, Reuters, April 29, 2013
Chicago settled a payment dispute with a private company operating the city’s parking meters that will greatly reduce money owed by the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday. Under the deal, Chicago will pay Chicago Parking Meters LLC $8.9 million, instead of the $49 million the company demanded in compensation for out-of-service meters due to street closures and other reasons covering a two-year period that ended on March 31. The agreement will be presented on May 8 to the city council, which will have 30 days to review it, according to a statement from the mayor’s office….
Parking Deal a Windfall for Private Company
Source: Carol Marin and Don Moseley, NBC 5, April 23, 2013
It costs a lot to park in Chicago. Of that there is no denial. The private company that oversees on street parking in Chicago has seen revenue increase by 368 percent since 2008. That was the year the Daley administration pushed through a controversial plan to relinquish the city’s hold over 36,000 parking meters in exchange for a $1.2 billion payout. In 2008, the last year the city collected parking meter revenue, it totaled $23.3 million. In 2011, the last year figures were available, Chicago Parking Meters, LLC took in $109.3 million, according to figures released through a Freedom of Information Act request….
Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Parasitic “Business”
Source: Edward McClelland, NBC Chicago, March 26, 2013
Salon’s Michael Lind — the best political commentator in America, IMHO — made an oblique reference to Chicago’s parking meter in a column entitled “Defeating useless rich people.” Lind was criticizing what he called the Rentier class — financiers who make money not by selling goods and services, but by “their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract excessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses.”…Chicago Parking Meters LLC is a perfect example of a Rentier outfit. The company essentially paid the city a $1.1 billion bribe for a 75-year-long monopoly on a publicly-owned resource….
Most charter school funders hate unions and unions generally hate charters. But more and more charter teachers want to unionize, and labor is helping them do it. …. For teachers, unions, and charter school advocates, the moment is fraught with challenges. Traditional unions are grappling with how they can both organize charter teachers and still work politically to curb charter expansion. Charter school backers and funders are trying to figure out how to hold an anti-union line, while continuing to market charters as vehicles for social justice. Though 68 percent of K-12 public school teachers are unionized, just 7 percent of charter school teachers are, according to a 2012 study from the Center for Education Reform.
Source: Sara Rosenbaum, David A. Kindig, Jie Bao, Maureen K. Byrnes and Colin O’Laughlin, Health Affairs, Early View, June 12, 2015
From the abstract:
The federal government encourages public support for charitable activities by allowing people to deduct donations to tax-exempt organizations on their income tax returns. Tax-exempt hospitals are major beneficiaries of this policy because it encourages donations to the hospitals while shielding them from federal and state tax liability. In exchange, these hospitals must engage in community benefit activities, such as providing care to indigent patients and participating in Medicaid. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the value of the nonprofit hospital tax exemption at $12.6 billion in 2002—a number that included forgone taxes, public contributions, and the value of tax-exempt bond financing. In this article we estimate that the size of the exemption reached $24.6 billion in 2011. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings a new focus on community benefit activities by requiring tax-exempt hospitals to engage in communitywide planning efforts to improve community health. The magnitude of the tax exemption, coupled with ACA reforms, underscores the public’s interest not only in community benefit spending generally but also in the extent to which nonprofit hospitals allocate funds for community benefit expenditures that improve the overall health of their communities.
From the abstract:
As the Saskatchewan government embarks on a major public-private-partnership (P3) school build, it regularly assures the public that it has learned from the P3 mistakes of other jurisdictions. Despite these assurances, the recent Saskatchewan Auditor-General report and the hiring of Partnerships BC as a P3 advisor to the government demonstrates that rather than learning from the P3 mistakes of the past, the government seems poised to repeat them. Simon Enoch and Cheryl Stadnichuk identify the various ways the government’s P3 process continues to harbour the same biases and faulty assumptions of other failed P3 projects across the country.
LSU leaders and the manager of the university system’s Shreveport hospital are again at odds, and the threat of a possible breach of contract lawsuit emerged Thursday in the privatization deal. A last-minute add-on to Friday’s LSU Board of Supervisors agenda shows a possible discussion about “prospective litigation” against the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana for violating its contract to run LSU’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals….
Analysis: Lawmakers hear about gaps in LSU hospital deals
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, April 26, 2015
Two years after Gov. Bobby Jindal began privatizing the state-run charity hospital system, problems and financial questions continue to appear as lawmakers and communities sift through the spill-out effect. The private managers that now operate the hospitals say they’re $159 million short in Jindal’s budget of what they need to provide adequate care for the poor and uninsured in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Privatization of LSU hospitals leaves medical school with ‘legacy costs’
Source: Associated Press, April 16, 2015
LSU’s medical schools in New Orleans and Shreveport are struggling to pay millions of dollars in insurance, retiree and maintenance costs left to them from the privatization of the state’s charity hospitals. University officials outlined more than $56 million in “legacy costs” that they face in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget would leave the health sciences center in New Orleans and Shreveport to cover costs associated with former hospital employees, the Senate Finance Committee was told Thursday….
Hospital decision good for Jindal, less for others
Source: Melinda Deslatte, News Star, January 11, 2015
Gov. Bobby Jindal got only good news when the federal Medicaid agency signed off on financing plans for his LSU hospital privatization deals. But the result was more mixed for lawmakers and future governors, who learned Jindal’s deals will leave them with a lingering budget worry after he’s gone. … CMS approval came with a blow, however: Louisiana was ordered to repay $190 million to the federal government for pieces of prior hospital deals the Medicaid agency rejected. That won’t touch Jindal though, because an appeal of the repayment order is expected to drag on for years. If the hospital deals cause the state financial trouble, Jindal will be gone when the mess has to be cleaned up. …
Federal government approves LSU hospital deals, but rejects their lease payments
Source: Times-Picayune, December 23, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration says federal officials have approved the six LSU hospital privatization contracts, though they rejected the advanced lease payment structure used to help pay for the deals — a potential $190 million blow to Louisiana’s state budget.
LSU hospital deals still pending in federal review, despite secretary’s statement to lawmakers
Source: Associated Press, December 16, 2014
Louisiana’s health secretary told lawmakers that the state expected to receive federal approval for six LSU hospital privatization contracts by last week’s end. It still hasn’t arrived. Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert said Tuesday the lack of an approval letter doesn’t mean the rewritten deals have hit any snags. She said she’s assured in her conversations with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, known as CMS, that there are no problems with the financing plans.
Analysis: Strife emerges in LSU privatization deal
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, August 31, 2014
Only a year into privatization, a bitter feud has erupted from a deal that transferred management of LSU’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals to a research foundation that had never run a patient care facility. Now, finger-pointing and traded jabs of mismanagement threaten to mar the contractual arrangement that Gov. Bobby Jindal orchestrated and praised as improving the future of health care for Louisiana….LSU claims it’s owed more than $25 million for services rendered as part of the 10-month-old management transfer, and the new operator of the hospitals, the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, is accusing LSU of having mismanaged its clinics….
Hospital manager says it paid nearly $7M for debt tied to privatization of LSU hospitals
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, August 22, 2014
Hospital manager says it paid nearly $7M for debt tied to privatization of LSU hospitals
The research foundation running the LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe said it paid the university system nearly $7 million Friday for back-owed debts tied to privatization, less than one-third of the amount demanded by LSU in a collection letter this week. The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, or BRF, said it placed another $10.6 million into escrow, saying it will be disbursed to LSU once remaining financial terms are worked out. The foundation said in a statement that it will cover the balance of what is owed to the university system. …
Hospital privatization cost $52 million less than budget
Source: Lauren Guillot, Daily Reveille, July 23, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to privatize university hospitals has cost $52 million less than expected. According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, the state spent just over $1 billion on the hospital deals during the fiscal year that ended June 30.
LSU hospital privatization deals cost less than expected
Source: Associated Press, July 16, 2014
Louisiana spent $52 million less than was budgeted for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s privatization deals for the LSU hospitals that provide care to the uninsured in the recently ended fiscal year, according to data provided by the state health department…. The Department of Health and Hospitals also says some of the reduced spending can be tied to a slower-than-expected restart of services that had been cut when LSU was operating the hospitals and their clinics. But lawmakers in areas with the privatization deals have raised concerns that some of the uninsured patients are going to other private hospitals in the region that aren’t getting reimbursed for the care. In response to an Associated Press request, DHH released updated financial data showing the hospital deals cost the state just over $1 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, paid with state and federal Medicaid dollars. The budget assumed $52 million more than was spent. Final accounting for the overall Medicaid program won’t be complete until October, so it won’t be clear until then if the health department has a surplus. Privatization deals, completed through no-bid contracts, have taken effect for nine university hospitals and their clinics, with the earliest deal starting in April 2013. Kliebert said the management transfers have decreased wait times for clinics, specialty services and prescription fillings….
Supporters want Pineville’s Huey P. Long Medical Center reopened or re-used
Source: Richard Sharkey, Town Talk, July 7, 2014
The state has pulled the plug on Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, but some hospital supporters are hoping it can be given new life. Those supporters would like to see it reopened as a charity hospital, but if that doesn’t happen, they’d like to see the building re-used in some capacity. ….
Update to be given Monday on Huey P. Long lawsuit
Source: Town Talk, July 4, 2014
Lawyers will give an update Monday in Pineville on a lawsuit claiming that the process used to close Huey P. Long Medical Center violated the state open meetings law. … Judge Robert Downing of Baton Rouge has ruled that the legislation authorizing the Pineville charity hospital’s closure was flawed, but he did not stop the state from ending operations at the facility on Monday. Downing ruled that the Senate violated the open meetings law when the legislation was heard by its Health and Welfare Committee. He granted a preliminary injunction request sought by two hospital-closure opponents. But he also suspended that judgment pending an appeal of his decision. The appeal then went to the Louisiana Supreme Court because it is a question of constitutionality….
State files new appeal with CMS
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, June 29, 2014
The Jindal administration on Friday sought reconsideration of the federal health agency’s initial rejection of LSU hospital privatization financing plans. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services disapproved the plans because of advance lease payments included in hospital takeover agreements. CMS deemed the private operator payments “provider-related donations,” which are not allowed under federal law. A letter from Louisiana’s Medicaid director offers a defense of appropriateness of advance lease payments — and challenges the notion that the payments are donations….
LSU hospital closure ruled unconstitutional
Source: Associated Press, June 23, 2014
Lawmakers didn’t follow the Louisiana Constitution in authorizing Gov. Bobby Jindal to close the LSU-run public hospital in Pineville, a judge ruled Monday, but the judge is not requiring the Jindal administration to stop plans to shutter the facility next week. Judge Robert Downing said the Senate violated the open meetings law when the legislation was heard by its Health and Welfare Committee. He granted a preliminary injunction request sought by two hospital closure opponents. However, Downing also suspended that judgment — effectively allowing the closure plans to continue — pending an appeal of his decision. The appeal heads directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court because it is a question of constitutionality….
State work force down by 8,000
Source: Advocate, June 11, 2014
More than 8,000 classified state employees have lost their jobs since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office, according to a state Civil Service report issued Tuesday, The bulk of the 8,278 employees were laid off as a result of Jindal administration initiatives that turned traditional state functions over to private companies. Most of the layoffs have occurred in the past two state fiscal years with privatization of the LSU hospital system. So far, 2,270 employees have been laid off this fiscal year, which ends June 30, Civil Service reports. Of them, 2,196 had been employees of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe. The layoffs reached a high last fiscal year, when 3,808 people lost their state jobs as the privatization of the LSU hospitals began.
Louisiana Resubmits Hospital Privatization Plan to Federal Agency
Source: Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check, June 6, 2014
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has revised its plan to privatize state-run hospitals with federal dollars and resubmitted it to the agency that just last month rejected the proposal. ….. According to reports, the new proposal would not change the reimbursements rates to the private hospital managers, which CMS raised objections to when the original plan was rejected. Instead, the new plan would create a completely new category of reimbursement rates for the hospitals being privatized, and remove all references to the privatization contracts.
Bobby Jindal administration will send revised hospital privatization plan to federal officials
Source: Julia O’Donoghue, Times-Picayune, May 20, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration announced Thursday night that it intends to send the federal government a revised financing plan for the privatization of six state-run hospitals by the end of the week. Louisiana will have to adjust the fiscal arrangement that governs some of its medical facilities for the poor and uninsured or face potential turmoil in its operating budget in 2015. The state would have to pay back at least $200 million to the federal government if an agreement over how to structure the hospitals’ privatizations can’t be reached.
Lawmakers back closure of LSU’s Pineville hospital
Source: Associated Press, May 14, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal received legislative permission Wednesday to shutter the LSU-run public hospital in Pineville as part of a health care privatization deal for central Louisiana. The House voted 65-29 to give final passage to legislation authorizing the closure of the university-run Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville and the transfer of its services to two nearby private hospitals, CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center.
Lafayette hospital privatization runs over budget
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, May 9, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s privatization deal for the LSU hospital in Lafayette was running $6 million over budget by April’s end, with two months remaining in the fiscal year, raising questions about whether the contracts could cost more than anticipated. The overspending was detailed in an update to lawmakers about payments made for the outsourcing contracts involving nine state-owned, LSU hospitals for the budget year that ends June 30. The hospitals are safety-net facilities that care for the poor and uninsured.
Our Views: For Jindal, all is well
Source: Advocate, May 11, 2014
If you are the governor of a small state and you criticize the president of the United States every time you take a breath, then you ask the health agency in the president’s administration for a very significant discretionary waiver — what do you expect to get?
Put that way, we wonder why anyone thought Gov. Bobby Jindal had much of a prayer for the waiver he used to fund a privatization of most of the state’s old charity hospitals. Because not only did the financing provisions deserve scrutiny under federal rules — Louisiana has cheated the U.S. government in various ways many times in the past — the waiver was constructed to pad the state budget that is chronically in crisis under Jindal’s administration.
Feds reject LSU hospital deals
Source: Associated Press, May 2, 2014
Federal officials on Friday rejected financing plans by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration on deals to privatize six state-run hospitals, a decision that threatens contracts that already have been used to turn over hospital management. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, notified the state health department that it refused to sign off on the plans. The agency said the agreements don’t meet federal guidelines governing how Medicaid dollars can be spent….The decision was a significant blow to the Jindal administration and could create massive upheaval in the state’s budget. The budget was balanced this year assuming that hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding would flow into the hospitals. Jindal didn’t wait for federal approval before he shifted management, so the hospitals are now operating under financing plans that have been rejected. The rejections involved plans for LSU-run hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe….But only one contractual arrangement has received federal approval, a deal that shuttered LSU’s Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge and transferred most of its inpatient services to a private hospital, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center….
Federal government rejects Jindal hospital plans
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, May 5, 2014
The federal government Friday rejected the Jindal administration’s financing plan for privatizing the administration of LSU hospitals. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services questioned the administration’s use of $260.8 million in advance lease payments to prop up the deals involving six public hospitals, including those in New Orleans, Lafayette and Houma. If the decision stands, the state would have to find another way to cover those payments. …. The private hospital companies leasing the state’s charity hospitals agreed to pay up-front a larger proportion of their long-term leases, which would result in paying lesser amounts toward the end of the contracts. But Tavenner wrote the arrangement amounted to Louisiana trying to get extra federal Medicaid dollars to repay private managers for those advanced lease payments…..
La. Senate backs Jindal’s plan to close LSU hospital in Pineville, part of privatization deal
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, April 08, 2014
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to shutter the LSU public hospital in Pineville and shift its services to two private hospitals in central Louisiana received support Tuesday from the state Senate. Jindal wants to close the university-run Huey P. Long Medical Center and move its services to CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital and Rapides Regional Medical Center. It would be the Republican governor’s ninth and final privatization deal for the LSU public hospital system. …
Forced Charity: LSU Hospital System Makeover
Source: Sue Lincoln, WWNO NPR, March 26, 2014
It’s been nearly a year since the state started implementing public-private partnerships for the LSU Hospital System, formerly known as Louisiana’s Charity Hospitals. The plan was pushed as a cost-saver for the state. How is it working out? Good for some and not so good for others—with patients and hospital caregivers caught in the middle. …. And the question remains: is Louisiana really saving money with the LSU Hospital public-private partnerships? Gregory says it does not appear so.
Privatized hospitals short of money
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, February 4, 2014
The Jindal administration’s budget is coming up short of funds to cover some costs related to the privatization of LSU hospitals, according to a Legislative Fiscal Office report. There could be as much as a $13.75 million shortfall related to hospital retiree insurance benefit costs for which the state is on the hook, fiscal analyst Alan Boxberger wrote. …. At the end of December, the administration revised its estimate of needed funding to $19 million to $20 million. The reduction came partially because of fewer retirees than originally projected and the phased implementation of privatization, the report said. Without the federal funding support, there is approximately a $10 million shortfall to cover the expense.
8th LSU hospital ready to go private
Source: Advocate, February 3, 2014
… LSU’s Bogalusa Medical Center is scheduled to convert to private operation March 17, LSU system Vice President Frank Opelka said Friday. The charity hospital also gets a new name — Our Lady of Angels Hospital — as the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health Center System take over. The hospital becomes the eighth of LSU’s 10 hospitals to undergo privatization under the Jindal administration. The Legislature will be asked to close a ninth hospital — Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville — during the legislative session, which opens March 10. Under the plan, two private hospitals in Alexandria would assume care for Huey P. Long patients through a contract called a cooperative endeavor agreement. The 10th hospital — Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center, in Independence — will continue to be operated by LSU. …
New LSU hospital manager asks state for more money
Source: Melinda DeSlatte, Associated Press, January 28, 2014
The research foundation running LSU’s Shreveport and Monroe hospitals under a privatization deal crafted by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is asking the state to pay for more than $120 million in hospital improvements and expansions. …. “Something is a little odd about that. The main reasons that I understood that we were privatizing is because it was going to bring relief to our taxpayers,” said Rep. Roy Burrell, D-Shreveport, whose district includes one of the hospitals managed by BRF. …
Insight: Hospital Privatization Fodder for Legislative Session and Governor’s Race
Source: Amy Jeffries, WRKF, January 27, 2014
A recent report by the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana concludes that with the privatization of the charity hospital system, Louisiana’s safety net is being reinvented. The reinvention will likely come up again in the legislature when it convenes in March as lawmakers dig up debate on Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. And the candidates for governor will be staking out positions on healthcare reform.
Auditor: Revenues up, costs down after privatizing charity hospitals
Source: Mark Ballard, Advocate, January 1, 2014
In an analysis that a Lafayette hospital had overcharged some patients, the Louisiana legislative auditor calculated the privatization of most of the state’s charity hospital system saves taxpayers $271.2 million in salaries and could create revenues of $3.4 billion. …
A New Safety Net: The risk and reward of Louisiana’s Charity hospital privatization
Source: Don Gregory, Alison Neustrom, Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, Publication 333, December 2013
In the past year, Louisiana’s hospital safety net has been reinvented but not discarded. After a sudden reduction in federal health care financing, Louisiana embarked on a new path by privatizing the operations of its state hospitals while continuing to provide medical education managed by its public universities. Uninsured adults in Louisiana have long relied on government-subsidized care at the state-run “Charity” hospitals. Estimates for 2011 indicate 291,000 to 419,000 uninsured adults in Louisiana were at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. There were 93,453 more uninsured adults than there were in 2009. The Charity hospital system in 2011 had 1.76 million outpatient encounters and 63,814 discharges from inpatient care, nearly half for uninsured adults. ….. This report will describe the traditional approach Louisiana has taken to health care for the uninsured and contrast it with the new model. Changes in financing, administration and service delivery will be described broadly and the specifics of each local agreement will be explained. This report will highlight key policy aspects of the transition. ….
Privatization of LSU’s hospital in Bogalusa pushed back 2 months, to take effect in March
Source: Associated Press, December 13, 2013
Plans to transfer oversight of LSU’s rural Bogalusa hospital to private management will be delayed by two months. Frank Opelka, leader of the LSU hospital system, told the university system’s Board of Supervisors on Friday about the change. The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, which operates four private hospitals in Louisiana, was scheduled to take control Jan. 6 of LSU’s Bogalusa Medical Center, a hospital that cares for the poor and uninsured and trains medical students. …
Jindal’s privatization of LSU hospitals cuts retirement system debt by shrinking state payroll
Source: Melinda DeSlatte, Associated Press, November 6, 2013
The Jindal administration’s layoff of more than 7,700 LSU hospital workers has put a major dent in the state employee retirement system’s debt, dropping it hundreds of millions of dollars. Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed to turn over the operations of LSU hospitals to private companies. Seven deals have taken effect. Many laid off state workers have been rehired by the new hospital managers. …. However, the layoffs also will force state agencies to pay larger contribution rates next year for employee retirement, because the workforce paying off the retirement debt is now smaller.
Civil Service panel OKs LSU hospital privatization
Source: Associated Press, September 4, 2013
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration won approval Wednesday from the Civil Service Commission for the privatization of the LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, which will remove nearly 3,300 people from state employment rolls. The 4-1 commission vote was the final step needed for the Oct. 1 start date of the outsourcing contract and allows the university system to lay off 3,262 hospital workers at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport and the E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe. Those employees can reapply with the nonprofit research foundation that will take over management of the hospitals. John Dailey, vice chancellor of LSU Health Shreveport, said more than 90 percent of employees who sought to remain in their jobs are being rehired by the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana, or BRF. At least 600 hospital workers applied for retirement rather than reapply for their positions, and LSU officials acknowledged those who transfer to BRF employment will have lessened benefits and less lucrative retirement packages….
Jindal touts LSU hospital privatization deals as new urgent care clinic opens in Baton Rouge
Source: Associated Press, September 3, 2013
A new LSU urgent care clinic opened Tuesday in north Baton Rouge, managed by a local private hospital as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to outsource university system health facilities. Jindal used the ribbon-cutting to highlight the privatization efforts, which he said have improved services for people who rely on the LSU network of hospitals and clinics for care…. LSU’s hospital in Baton Rouge, Earl K. Long Medical Center, was shuttered in April. Most of its services were shifted to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. The new LSU urgent care clinic in the city also is run by Our Lady of the Lake. The clinic replaces a temporary location and treats walk-in patients for non-emergency needs, like broken bones, minor injuries and flu-like symptoms. The facility is open around-the-clock and is designed to keep the uninsured from more expensive emergency room care….
Privatization deal set for north Louisiana LSU hospitals
Source: Associated Press, August 6, 2013
Management of two LSU hospitals in north Louisiana is being turned over to a nonprofit research foundation that has never run a patient care facility, raising concerns about whether it has the experience and the financing needed to oversee the public hospitals. The privatization of the university-run hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe is in contrast to the approach Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration took in south Louisiana, where nearly all of LSU’s facilities are being overseen by companies that run other private hospitals in the area.
LSU medical center employee speaks out about takeover
Source: Victoria Shirley, KSLA, July 26, 2013
A health care worker is speaking out about the recent LSU Medical Center takeover plans. The private company taking over is Biomedical Research Foundation. They will take over management by October 1st. It was formally announced Thursday that all 23-hundred employees at LSU Health Shreveport will be laid off, they will have to re-apply. …
Legislator questions impact of privatization on women’s health care
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, June 22, 2013
Much of the women’s health care provided at LSU’s hospital in Bogalusa will continue after its takeover by a Catholic-affiliated group, but no birth control services or abortions will be done, hospital executives said Friday. The exceptions based on religious reasons caught the attention of some members of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget as the legislators reviewed the agreement allowing the private group to take over the public hospital…
LSU hospital deal questioned
Source: Tom Aswell, Tri-Parish Times, June 18, 2013
The Louisiana Civil Service Commission notwithstanding, the state may not yet be out of the woods with its plan to privatize nine of 10 LSU hospitals and clinics that provide medical care for the state’s poor and uninsured, as well as serve as training sites for many of the state’s medical students. A spokesman for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Dallas said last week that it still has not received answers to all its questions put to the state in a Jan. 30 letter and the continued flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds could hinge on satisfactory responses by the state to those questions….
Civil Service clears layoffs of hospital employees
Source: Mike Hasten, Advertiser, June 10, 2013
The Louisiana Civil Service Commission has cleared the way for the state to lay off nearly 4,000 employees at LSU hospitals in Lafayette, Lake Charles, Houma and New Orleans. With a 3-2 vote, the commission cleared the way for 3,976 employees, 2,771 of whom are classified state Civil Service, to receive pink slips effective “at the end of business June 23.” State officials contend that most of the state hospital workers would be hired by the private partners that are assuming control of the hospitals. Several already have signed contracts to retain some currently LSU hospital employees. …
Panel approves hospital takeovers
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, June 10, 2013
…The deals call for the private takeover of LSU hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles effective June 24. More than 3,500 state employees, both classified and unclassified, will lose their jobs as a result of the move. More than half of those affected work at the Interim Hospital in New Orleans. The commission last week rejected the privatization plans pushed by the Jindal administration on a 4-3 vote amid complaints that LSU provided insufficient information. On Monday, two commissioners were absent — one supporter and one opponent….
Civil Service Commission rejects hospital privatization plans
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, June 6, 2013
The state Civil Service Commission on Wednesday narrowly rejected privatization plans for four LSU hospitals that would lead to the layoff of some 3,000 state employees. Some commissioners complained about the lack of information provided by LSU as they were confronted with making such a major decision. An LSU official said efforts would be made to get the commission to reconsider its decision prior to the planned June 24 transition from public to private operation of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma and Lake Charles.
Report breaks down possible cost of hospital privatization
Source: WAFB, Updated: May 13, 2013 5:11 AM EDT
Plans to privatize hospitals within the LSU system could cost the state of Louisiana about $42 million up front and up to $26 million each year. Those numbers are from a report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. More than 1,700 jobs have already been cut from the seven hospitals and another 5,200 in all are expected to be eliminated.
Louisiana State University Health Care Services Division Network Hospital Closure/Privatization
Source: Financial Audit Services Informational Report, May 8, 2013
Jindal won’t seek legislative approval of hospital privatization agreements
Source: Mike Hasten, News Star, April 18, 2013
Gov. Bobby Jindal says his administration is taking LSU hospital privatization agreements to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget but only for review, not approval, like House members want. The House and Senate have approved resolutions requiring legislative approval — the Senate wants its Finance Committee to have to sign off on the contracts and the House wants the JCLB to have to vote to approve, not just review, the contracts.
LSU board approves privatization of New Orleans, Lafayette hospitals
Source: Jeff Adelson, Times-Picayune, April 17, 2013
The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors unanimously signed off on the privatizations of public hospitals in New Orleans and Lafayette Wednesday. The proposal is part of a statewide push to privatization among the state’s public hospitals in the wake of a reduction in the federal Medicaid funding Louisiana receives.
La. AG says Jindal doesn’t need legislative approval to privatize LSU hospitals
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, April 12, 2013
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plans to privatize the LSU-run public hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured don’t require legislative approval, the attorney general’s office said Thursday. The opinion from Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office was released to Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans, who asked for the legal guidance. Jindal health care officials have said they didn’t intend to seek a legislative vote for the individual privatization agreements because the law doesn’t require approval.
LSU hospitals in north La. set for privatization
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, March 27, 2013
The LSU Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to negotiate turning over the operations of university-run hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe to a nonprofit research foundation whose interim president sits on the LSU board. The board backed an arrangement that LSU officials expect to lead to the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana taking over management of the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport and E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe and their clinics….
Hospital privatization could impact thousands of state employees
Source: Marsha Shuler, Advocate, March 11, 2013
Much of the budget savings associated with the Jindal administration’s privatization of LSU public hospitals comes from a $400 million reduction in funding for employee pay and benefits as hospital workers lose their state jobs across south Louisiana. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, strips funding for hospitals in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Houma, Bogalusa and Lake Charles, impacting potentially about 5,000 employee jobs.
Budgets for public hospitals depend on privatization agreements / Legislators question moving forward
Source: Michelle Millhollon, Advocate, February 25, 2013
…Jindal plans to turn eight public hospitals in Louisiana over to the private sector in a move he contends will save the state money. But partnership agreements are only in place for five of the hospitals. And those agreements are not final….
…Ten public hospitals in Louisiana provide care to the uninsured, either through the oversight of LSU Health Care Services or the LSU system. In a move that could eliminate thousands of state government jobs, Jindal is restructuring the state’s public hospital and graduate medical education system….
Privatization plans for LSU hospitals approved
Source: Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press, December 14, 2012
The LSU Board of Supervisors agreed Friday to privatize the operations of its public hospitals in New Orleans, Houma and Lafayette that provide safety net care for the uninsured and help train medical students. Management of the hospitals and their outpatient clinics will be turned over to nonprofit corporations that run private hospitals in the regions, under plans pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration….
…Lease terms are under negotiation and haven’t been released. The nonprofit corporations agreed to put up about $30 million in initial “milestone payments” as part of the deals, with additional lease payments to be required to manage the hospitals. The Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, which operates Children’s Hospital and Touro Infirmary, will lease the Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans and the new $1 billion, 424-bed medical training and research center set to open in two years. Ochsner Health System and Terrebonne General Medical Center will manage the LSU hospital in Houma, the L.J. Chabert Medical Center and its outpatient clinics. Lafayette General Health System will operate the LSU hospital in Lafayette, the University Medical Center and its clinics…..