Kaminski gives readers some answers

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Steve Bartlett
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Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski responds to readers questions through a text-based program live on The Telegram's website this morning. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

The CEO of Eastern Health spent an hour answering reader questions on various issues on thetelegram.com this morning.

Through a text-based program, Vickie Kaminski replied to queries on issues ranging from her salary to the cost of bedside care.

“Hours at the bedside are not necessarily the issue,” she said. “The cost of those hours is our biggest inefficiency. For example, if we are using a nurse at overtime, that costs us 18 hours of care for a 12-hour shift. So becoming better at how we staff and utilize the hours we have will lead us to a more efficient operation.”

Eastern Health recently announced it was eliminating the equivalent of 550 full-time positions, through attrition and measures like reducing overtime.

The measure is expected to save the health authority $43 million.

The Telegram asked Kaminski to participate in the reader Q&A after the announced cuts, which have been met with opposition from the health authority’s unionized employees.

Regarding bedside hours, she elaborated in answering the question, there are times when Eastern Health needs many extra hours of care for some patients and times when less hours are required.

“Our problem has been an inflexibility in determining which is which, sometimes brought about by automatic staff replacements from central staffing, sometimes from inconsistent workload measurement, and sometimes from poor management,” Kaminiski said.

“Bringing all these things into line will make us more efficient as we provide appropriate patient care.”

Kaminski answered more than 15 questions in the hour, taking time to think and type out her responses.

In her closing remarks, she asked for the public to be patient.

“I know there is some skepticism and a lot of concern about our efficiency plans,” she wrote. “I would ask you to give us the opportunity to make some changes, evaluate them and determine our success at achieving these goals. We will keep quality of care and access to that care as our top priority.”

In case you were wondering, in reponse to the salary question, Kaminski replied, “Presently annual salary is $352,240. In addition I receive a $10,000 car allowance, and $35,000 in lieu of benefits for pension and housing.”

To read an archived version of the entire Q&A, click HERE.

As well, see Wednesday’s print and electronic editions for more coverage.

Geographic location: Eastern Health

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Recent comments

  • Just one of the little people
    June 13, 2012 - 10:12

    I am 34 years old. I finished High School, and then finished college. After college I worked at a few different part-time jobs in my field and these days I work for 8 hours a day and bring home 30,000 a year. Between paying for my 50 year old house (could never have afforded a new home) plus food, utilities, STUDENT LOANS and a USED car... I have very little "fun" money. I work to live and like the thousands of others in NL I live from pay cheque to pay cheque. I understand and agree that a person educated enough to make decisions for thousands in government and dealing with the stress that comes with the job deserves a higher salary then someone like me... but here is my concern... We live in a society where a person can study for YEARS to be a doctor and have the ability to perform surgery on a person and save their life, and they make LESS then this woman. $100,000 a year would provide a life of luxury for this woman. $350,000 a year is a crime, and lets say for a moment that it was ok to earn that much for a desk job which also involves having to travel and attend many meetings and gala events and eat the finest foods and drink the best wines. Does anyone really deserve $35,000 for housing and benefits ON TOP of the $350 K and $10,000 for a CAR that the rest of us have to pay for from our common person salary? I can't even afford to have an RRSP and this woman can put my salary a year into her retirement savings. I have nothing personal against Vickie... she is just doing her job. My issue is that there is no good reason for paying her THAT much when so many hard working people go to the grocery store each month and question if they can afford an item before putting it in their cart. Maybe we could pay pay people like her 100K a year and the rest put into medical research and care/schools/snow clearing/the environment/hospitals... So many options. It makes people in my situation feel like I have been wasting my time being a law-abiding tax-paying citizen.

  • Nasty Nate
    June 13, 2012 - 04:53

    $397,000 per year to sit on your rear. Where do I sign up so I do not have to "work" for a living with my two degrees and twenty plus years of experience? No wonder they are broke, bureaucrats hauling in more than the highest paid doctors in the province from the sounds of things. Why "work" to support you families when you can just "order" people around and make far more.

  • robroy
    June 13, 2012 - 00:06

    thank you this was a fine gesture

  • Nice Work
    June 12, 2012 - 17:26

    Whether you like this lady or not, you have to give her props for being so transparent and open. Running a health system with a population so distributed is not easy. I'll comment on her salary before the crowds start complaining. Her pay seems to be on par with others in the same types of position across the country. She's the CEO of a major corporation. They get paid.

  • Nler
    June 12, 2012 - 12:05

    So, In total she gets $397, 240. So why are they cutting 550 full time jobs, and not cutting some of her almost $400, 000 salary? Gross.