Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dave Regan: A New Kind of Hipster

Dave Regan: Doing his hipster thing
In case there was any doubt about Dave Regan being firmly implanted in the hip pocket of hospital CEOs, an event last week (see the tape-recorded excerpts below) brought tons of clarity.

Remember the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”)? When the ruling was announced, grass-roots groups and unions from Wisconsin to West Virginia teamed up to hold press conferences so they could describe their reactions to the court’s decision.

What about Regan? Well Dave, too, held a press conference... but he chose a decidedly different partner to join him at the mic. Instead of community groups or advocacy organizations, “Wall Street Dave” appeared side-by-side with the CEO of the California Hospital Association (CHA)!

For those who don't know it, the CHA is the "Chamber of Commerce" of California’s hospital industry and is governed by the CEOs of multi-billion-dollar corporations like Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, the Daughters of Charity Health System, etc.

CHA is the same outfit that worked hand-in-glove with Regan to try to roll back California’s landmark nurse-to-patient staffing law. In fact, during last week's press conference, Regan appeared to boast about his ratio-raiding plot (which he had earlier denied) and described how "we worked with CHA in the final weeks of the legislative session to try to mitigate the cuts being imposed." Mitigation? That was the effort by SEIU and the CHA to roll back the ratios.

Tasty dutifully listened to a recording of the press conference, which was more nauseating than boat ride through the Bering Straits. It turns out that the event was a platform for Regan and the CHA’s CEO, Duane Dauner, to publicly declare their endless love for one another. They gushed about their “visionary partnership” and pledged to work even more intensively on joint lobbying and legislation.

In a revealing slip-of-the-tongue, Dauner introduced Regan as “the CEO” of SEIU-UHW. Of course, it’s not difficult to imagine why Duane might confuse Regan with the CEOs who make up the ruling council of the CHA. Throughout the press conference, Regan quickly agreed with every statement that rolled out of Duane’s mouth! In fact, Diamond Dave didn’t even object when Dauner began discussing the need for increased “cost containment,” which is the industry’s codeword for cutting services to patients, reducing staff and subcontracting caregivers’ jobs.

And for workers who fear Regan's push for wellness programs, you should pay special attention to Dauner's comments, which are packed full of codewords that paint an ominous future. Tasty can only imagine all the secret discussions that Duane and Dave have had on this topic. 

Here's a three-minute audio file containing highlights from from Dave’s and Duane’s lovefest. A quick note: When Dave uses the term "providers," he's referring to hospital companies like Kaiser, Dignity Health, Daughters of Charity, etc.