Monday, September 26, 2005

King/Drew's New Managers' "Liberal Spending"

We posted a while back about the ongoing troubles at King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. Long viewed as a symbol of progress for poor and minority patients in the city, the Medical Center had fallen on very hard times, attributed to bad management that for a long time hid behind the banner of the hospital's reputation in the community.
Eventually the County of Los Angeles brought in Navigant Consulting to run the hospital. But now that company appears, as per the Los Angeles Times, to have exhibited "a pattern of liberal spending normally off-limits to those working on the public dime." The County Department of Health Services plans to reject about $300,000 of the firm's $1.3 million in travel and related billings. The Times uncovered instances of bills submitted for the wrong person, for trips that were never taken, twice for the same trip, for apparently personal travel, and for first-class seats. The Navigant project executive for King/Drew, Kae Robertson, blamed it on Navigant's own accounting office, and the County's insistence on paper recipts.
Meanwhile, Navigant was supposed to "re-instill a sense of accountability among employees...."
Furthermore, "many of Navigant's stated goals at King/Drew remain unmet," including restoring the hospital accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
It is amazing that a second generation of hospital administrators, specifically hired to clean up past abuses at a hospital which serves a predominantly poor patient population, felt they deserved to fly first-class at the taxpayers' and patients' expense.

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