Workers and community members in Waterbury, Connecticut are speaking out about ongoing problems at Prospect Medical Holdings’ Waterbury Hospital.
Prospect is a safety net hospital chain owned by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners. Leonard Green and other owners have paid themselves $658 million in fees and dividends from Prospect even as the company suffered numerous quality concerns.
Workers and community leaders are raising concerns to regulators, lawmakers, and investors across the country. See below for excerpts from their testimony to the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General.
Ed Gadomski, former 32-year employee of Waterbury Hospital:
“My name is Ed Gadomski and I have been employed at Waterbury Hospital for the past 32 years as a PC Tech in the IT Dept. On August 3, ten of us were called into the hospital conference room and were blindsided and told that September 1 we would be terminated. Our positions were being outsourced to India…. We were told that we could re-apply for our positions and would be offered comparable wages and benefits to what we currently have.”
“Of the seven PC Techs terminated, three accepted offers from the company R4 because they had no choice to do so…. The remaining four PC Techs were all offered the exact same pay of $13.46 per hour. In my case, that is about 1/3 of my salary after 32 years at the hospital. The four of us are now on unemployment during a national pandemic.”
Dave Hannon, Secretary/Treasurer of Connecticut Health Care Associates, District 1199 NUHHCE (union for employees at Waterbury Hospital):
“There is no excuse for a hospital not to provide accurate contact tracing of- and to- its employees during a pandemic. Yet, time and again, Prospect fails to do this, because its razor thin staffing model does not allow for multiple employees out at the same time, even during a crisis. Prospect simply refuses to spend the money it takes to provide safe, effective healthcare to its patients or to provide for a safe workplace for its employees.”
“It is tempting to write some of this off as hard decision making during uncertain times. That is a charitable view and after nearly 6 years dealing with Prospect, I am not inclined to view them charitably.”
Steve Schrag, Naugatuck Valley Project:
“Prospect Medical/Waterbury Hospital property received a more than 70% tax break from the City of Waterbury on July 22, 2020. When CEO Lester Schindel, Interim CEO of Waterbury Hospital, discussed COVID-19 related financial losses as the reason to get the tax break he did not disclose the millions in CARES ACT money that they received from the federal government and their $26 million in 2019 profits.”
“Last month, Waterbury Hospital outsourced 10 Waterbury Hospital Information Technology (WHIT) jobs to another company, Impact. A worker with 32 years’ experience, being paid $38 per hour with healthcare and a pension was offered $13.50 per hour a 20% increase in healthcare premiums and no employer contribution to pension. Where is the money going?”