ADVERTISEMENT

Give readers more stats on Kaleida expenditures

The Labor Day front-page News article on Western New York health care issues was both timely and informative. As a longtime registered nurse and union representative in Western New York, I have had the privilege of being intimately involved in the direct care of many patients as well as with labor issues concerning management and employees.

While the Affordable Care Act is shining a much-needed light on the industry and appears to be applying some discipline to overall health care spending, as the article states, there was one statistic that begged for context.

The 57 percent of total expenditures that were identified as employee costs at Kaleida Heath is vague as to what the national average is and as to whether this is an abnormally high percentage or not. The “expert” who commented on the percentage offered no opinion or contextual statistics other than to state that this percentage was an area that needed to be controlled. A management and staff cost breakdown also would have been helpful. Is management top-heavy at Kaleida? We don’t know.

When education issues have been reported in the past, I believe teachers’ salaries were 80 percent to 85 percent of educational costs. This makes some sense because these are costs directly incurred in the education of our children. But it also follows that the percentage of direct costs in health care should be a high percentage of total costs. I hope further discussion of this important issue is to follow.

Rosemary Kelly Speranza, R.N.

Hamburg