I would like to respond to Wednesday’s LNP | LancasterOnline editorial (“Unforced Error”) regarding Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s decision to cancel a planned $25 holiday gift card for employees.
As a Lancaster General Health employee for over 26 years, having worked for five different CEOs and many senior executives, I can tell you that decisions are not made lightly.
I will readily admit that I was initially devastated when we received the news, but just read the headlines in this newspaper to see how many businesses had to close and lay off workers. These closures, due to mismanagement or circumstances, bring perspective to the decisions leaders must make. Your own newspaper has to make such a decision. Liberal Party | For example, LancasterOnline reported on the closure of Chester County Hospital and Tower Health’s financial woes.
I’d rather have my job and a hospital I can go to when I need it than a gift card. I also love having a hospital where the nurses don’t leave the floor to go on strike like what happened in NYC last week.
What’s not mentioned in the LNP | LancasterOnline coverage – including letters to the editor, news articles and editorials – is all that our leadership does for us.
Most recently in the fall, employees enjoyed an evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium that included free food, games, entertainment and fireworks. We had our traditional festive meal again. To motivate employees to donate blood, the company offers up to 8 hours of paid time off. We get holiday pay on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If the hospital hits the target, we get raises and bonuses. Lancaster General Health leadership has lowered our health insurance costs. We have three employee fitness centers, free parking, cafeteria and pharmacy discounts, and receive anniversary gifts every five years of service.
This is where you say, “Oh. …”
The $230,000 budget for the gift card program is a small fraction of the overall budget, but by my calculations, it’s enough to hire seven patient care assistants, housekeepers, laundrymen, etc. Those with the lowest salaries on a scale that doesn’t generate income will be the first to be fired if necessary. This has happened in the past.
The newspaper’s business model, which has been eroded by the internet, is to produce products that people need and want and then sell ads and subscriptions. We have products that people need and want (high quality products, I must add), and then we wait for Medicare and insurance companies to pay us less than it costs us to provide that service. The news you should be covering is how underreimbursed Medicare is for hospitals.
Timothy J. McBride is a physical therapist at Lancaster General Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.