Tag Archives: May 2010

black and white photo of a truck with the bed full of trash

IFMA Members Reach Out To The Community

Facility managers are busy people. They’re constantly on the go. But they’re not so harried that they don’t have time to help others. IFMA’s Greater Phoenix Chapter has a history of working with charitable organizations to make life better for those in need. It also conducts projects that directly reach out to people and help keep Phoenix clean.

Ron Zardus, a retired Motorola facility manager, is chairman of the chapter’s community outreach committee that coordinates all community involvement. Word-of-mouth publicity plays a large role in local organizations’ awareness of IFMA’s efforts. Charities contact Zardus directly asking for help, and he also keeps in touch with various agencies to talk about their day-to-day needs.

Several organizations receive aid from the chapter, including H.O.P.E. Mission in Apache Junction, which serves pregnant and unwed mothers; and Sunshine Acres Children’s Home in Mesa for 5- to 14-year-olds in crisis. In Phoenix, IFMA lends a hand to Maggie’s Place, which serves homeless and pregnant mothers 18 and older; Homeward Bound, which reaches out to homeless and domestically abused families; Sojourner Center, which provides services for domestic abuse victims; and Missionaries of Charity, which serves the homeless and unemployed.

Help comes in the form of excess materials that are donated to the charity, including furniture, equipment and carpeting. Some items are purchased and passed along. For example, Zardus is always on the prowl for used vacuum cleaners that he buys, repairs and donates. Chapter members and contractors from Zardus’ extensive list of contacts also donate their time and expertise for such projects as roof installations and painting.

“My main aim is to help eight to 10 charities,” Zardus says. “We want to help with their day-do-day activities and also want to show them how we can help with their long-range plans.”

Twice he has arranged for the full committee to meet with a charity so everyone can get to know each other, and he plans to do more meetings this year. Zardus starts each year with about $4,000 in chapter money, and says he has yet to be turned down when he requests additional funding several months later.

Quarterly, IFMA cleans up a one-mile stretch of 52nd Street between Thomas and McDowell roads. The most recent cleanup occurred on Feb. 6.

“When we first started the street cleanup several years ago, we took two pickup loads of trash back to the dumpsters,” says Lee Cowan, chapter secretary and construction and engineering services manager at General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale. “Since then, the street has been significantly improved in its appearance and image. The results have gone further than our chapter. It has influenced several in the neighborhood to be more proactive in helping keep the street clean.”

Some residents leave the comfort of their homes to help IFMA members remove trash on 52nd Street.

“I was amazed when at one location, the occupants of the residence came out and assisted in cleaning up tree limbs by their fence,” Cowan says. “Talk about peer pressure.”

Zardus and Cowan say IFMA takes particular pride in its annual Christmas food drive for needy families. Food cards are distributed to a group of families each year. Last December, nuns from Missionaries of Charity helped Zardus identify five families that would receive $125 food cards they could present at Bashas’ and Food City supermarkets. Zardus and Cowan delivered the cards personally. Tears flowed. One woman told them the card would feed her family for an entire week.

“This made a tremendous impact on the recipients and their appreciation was very evident,” Cowan says. “Words alone cannot describe the conditions that these families were living in and going through. These folks were in dire straits, and it made me stop and think just how lucky we are to have good homes and jobs. The nuns that met with (Zardus) and me said these were the poorest of the poor that they were working with in the area. It really touched my heart to see the thanks and appreciation of the families receiving the cards.”

Man standing in foreground of yellow hallway with photographs on opposite wall

Q&A Ted Ritter, President IFMA Greater Phoenix Chapter

As the economy recovers, how is the International Facility Management Association helping members?

We have a strong career resources committee, which is responsible for communicating employment opportunities to both facility managers and our associate vendor base. Employment opportunities that are available are posted to our local Web site, our alliance organizations’ Web sites, as well as to the national Web site. We encourage a very focused level of referrals and networking for our unemployed members, and in conjunction with support from the IFMA corporate entity, suspend dues and meeting fees in support of those who are in most need. … we also have established mentor and buddy systems designed to facilitate the introduction of less involved or new members to the greater community. Our goal is to help each new member get familiar with IFMA and to get the most out of his/her membership.

What are some of the issues IFMA is tackling this year?

The chapter, in collaboration with Arizona State University, is launching the first course (on) facility management (FM) beginning in the fall semester of 2010. The FM operations and maintenance class is one of the foundational areas of responsibility within the facilities management profession, and will provide students with an excellent overview of the scope and breadth of the role. There are no prerequisites to enroll in this class, as long as the individual is a non-degree seeking student; and existing students considering the FM profession can use this course as an elective for their current programs. We will continue to build on the foundation established last year with the Arizona chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC ), which we formally established through a memo of understanding in 2009. For this year, we are collaborating on joint association education throughout the year, as well as two key networking events that are designed to bring the two groups together in a less formal environment.

How do you see IFMA’s role and agenda evolving?

We need to continue to look to our global outreach initiatives to support the philosophies of the association, while also enhancing the growth of facility management around the world. This outreach is governed by a consistent assessment process by senior management that includes resource allocations, situational reviews, competitive advantages and cost-benefit analysis. As evidenced both by our practices and continuing relationship with the USGBC, facility management professionals have long been concerned and engaged in the environmental aspects of the facilities and workplaces they operate, especially from the perspective of energy conservation and high-performance buildings. Strategic facility plans also make the business case for investments in sustainability related initiatives. IFMA, as the premier representative for the profession and its concerns, holistically embraces environmental stewardship.

www.ifmaphoenix.org

close up of salad

Tomaso’s Sibling Restaurant, Tommy V’s, Strives For An Italian Tavern Vibe

Tomaso Maggiore has been the king of fine Italian dining in the Valley since the 1970s. Now, his Tommy V’s Osteria Pizzeria is offering a slightly more casual, but still exquisite, alternative to his signature restaurant, Tomaso’s.

“… Tommy V’s felt like a neighborhood dining establishment — a place to relax in after a long, hard day.”

Located right next door to Tomaso’s in Phoenix, Tommy V’s provides a comfortable, vibrant atmosphere and food that is to die for. From the moment I walked inside and saw the bar hopping with people, even on a Thursday, Tommy V’s felt like a neighborhood dining establishment — a place to relax in after a long, hard day. My companions and I couldn’t wait to see if the food would measure up to the wonderful atmosphere, and we jumped right in and ordered appetizers. We decided on the crispy calamari with pepperoncini, watercress organic tomatoes and citrus cream, as well as the osteria board. Osteria means “tavern” in Italian, and the osteria board features roasted tomato and pepper relish, crisp ciabatta, roasted garlic flat bread, bruschetta, artisan meats and cheese, and warm country olives, which our waitress told us were “world famous.” They certainly were delicious, as was everything else on the board. There was something for every taste bud.

After we had finished off every bite, our salads came. The chopped salad was divine, and about as unique as a chopped salad can get with mozzarella and hearts of palm. My personal favorite, though, was the Osteria, with baby greens, organic tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette.

Finally, it was time for our entrees. The specialty, of course, is pizza, and we chose two: shiitake wild mushroom with porcini, cremini, scallions, fontina, mozzarella and truffle oil; and the Let’s Meat, which includes sausage, salami, pancetta, scallions, tomatoes and mozzarella. Both pizzas were equally scrumptious and we simply could not choose a favorite. It is practically a guarantee that any of the other eight pizzas on the menu will be just as delicious.

Other than the pizza, our party also ordered eggplant torta, a baked multi-layer dish of eggplant, cheese fondue and pasta. It was wonderful, but the table favorite was the butternut squash ravioli. The ravioli consisted of not only roasted butternut squash, but also amaretto cookies, toasted almonds, and the key ingredient, parmigiano sage sauce.

Finally, we knew that we had to make room for dessert, which promised to live up to the high standards set by dinner. We didn’t think it could get any better, but we were wrong. Our party selected tiramisu and cannoli, and fought over both until the last bite was gone.

The next time you’re craving some fine Italian food, but not feeling quite fancy enough for Tomaso’s, stop by Tommy V’s. It will not disappoint.

If You Go:
Tommy V’s Osteria Pizzeria
3223 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
(602) 955-8900 | www.tomasos.com

Tawil in front of Kmart

First Job: Mark El-Tawil, President of Arizona Market, Humana Inc.

Mark El-Tawil
President, Arizona Market, Humana Inc.

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned from it.
My first job was as a pre-opening stock clerk at Kmart. It was in the small town where I grew up and went to college, and Kmart was about the only place an unskilled worker like myself could get a good job! That job paid 30 cents over minimum wage, the shift started at 7 a.m. — or earlier — daily, we could be scheduled for any day (weekends and holidays included), and we were considered the bottom of the Kmart totem pole — but it was a great first job. I learned the value of money, the importance of working hard and of having a good attitude about work, and that everyone wins when you try to deliver great customer service, as well as the power of positive reinforcement through my Employee of the Month awards (I don’t usually gloat, but that was “awards” — three of ‘em!).

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned from it.
My introduction to the health care industry came in my first professional position after moving to Arizona. I was an auditor with Deloitte predecessor, Touche Ross, in Phoenix. That was a great first professional job. It introduced me to many industries, one of which was health care, while working among an incredibly talented group of highly motivated, fun-loving individuals. From Deloitte, I left to help build a financial analysis team at a health care client of mine, and after some time advancing through finance roles, including CFO, I moved into the lead general management role. In that position I gained a broader perspective of the industry and the companies in it, and ultimately decided to make the move to Humana in 2008.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
Kmart paid $3.65 an hour to start, with a raise to $3.90 an hour after 90 days if you had a favorable review of your probationary period (which I did, thankfully!). As an auditor at Touche Ross, my starting salary was $25,000 a year, and I got company-paid health insurance benefits for the first time.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did he or she play?
My parents, grandparents and in-laws all played crucial roles in my development as a person, which has enabled me to be a good businessperson. Beyond mentors though, I believe that I have learned, and will continue to learn, from everyone for whom I have worked, as well as from everyone who has worked for me.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
Be open to and ready for change! This is a dynamic, fast-moving industry in a constantly changing environment, so the ability to foresee changes, the impact of change and to adapt to new environments is critical.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I’d either be playing basketball full time (for love or money — this is a fantasy question, right?) or be deep(er) into wine, either as a winemaker myself or … as a buyer for an international beverage conglomerate.

Two men walking down stairs, out of focus, black and white

Human Resources: New Program Will Reward Companies On Their Core Values

“Successful companies work closely with their management teams and employees … ”

As the economy begins to rebound, companies are looking at how they can maintain a competitive advantage. They want to make sure they can hang onto the best and brightest employees once hiring starts ramping up again. Many successful companies will rely on their strong employment brand — their corporate culture and values system — to help keep employees engaged in good times and bad. Is your company prepared?

In January, the business consulting firm BestCompaniesAZ and Arizona Business Magazine launched a new award program called Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. Unlike other award programs that reward based on growth or revenue metrics, Most Admired Companies will showcase businesses that demonstrate core values. The program will honor Arizona-based companies across the state based on employee, customer and community opinions. Public, private, government and nonprofit organizations with 50 or more employees are eligible to participate. Winners will be announced at an awards reception this fall, with their profiles published in Arizona Business and online at www.BestCompaniesAZ.com.

In selecting Arizona’s Most Admired Companies, four critical areas will be evaluated:

Workplace culture:

Successful companies work closely with their management teams and employees to establish a clear set of corporate values and a shared vision. By doing so, they create a positive corporate culture that drives the company’s direction.

Leadership excellence:

The quality of a leadership team can make or break a company. Dynamic leaders will embrace, support and promote desired corporate values, vision and culture. They also will connect effectively with their employees to ensure that all members of the team are properly trained, motivated and empowered to carry out their jobs. Research has established the positive effect a strong leadership team has on increased productivity, higher rates of employee satisfaction and better overall financial performance.

Corporate and social responsibility:

Many companies are actively involved in the community and help give back in both time and money. Getting involved with charitable organizations is a great way to share a company’s success and introduce a company to the community as one that truly cares.

Customer service:

It all starts with how a company treats its employees, and this carries through to what customers think about an organization. The Most Admired Companies program will look at what customers are saying about a company’s employees and service levels.

Here are some ways to learn more about and become involved with Arizona’s Most Admired Companies program:
  • Self nominate your company or a company you most admire.
  • Discuss with your employees why you are participating in this state program and involve them in the application process.
  • Celebrate your success by providing employees with feedback when the results come in. Whether you land on the list or not, you will capture essential information that warrants celebrating. Just by participating in this program, you are making a statement to your employees that you care and are committed to creating a most admired company and culture.

The marketing and branding of your company is not a start-and-stop process. Granted, tough times create tighter budgets, but that’s when successful companies find unique opportunities to keep the momentum going — such as being recognized as one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies. Use this time to think and plan strategically. The best companies will weather the storm and continue to promote their employees, company and product brands, keeping them top of mind and ahead of the competition. When the economy turns around, you’ll be well positioned to attract the best and brightest customers and employees.

Surgeons working on a Haitian earthquake victim

Arizona Medical Centers Provide Opportunities For Doctors To Help In The Wake Of Haiti’s Disaster

When a massive earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, the video images of the horrifying destruction moved millions around the world to tears. Here in the Valley, the news also moved many physicians to take action and head to Haiti. Four of those doctors making the journey were David Beyda, Grant Padley, Ara Feinstein and Jonathan Hodgson.

When each of these doctors felt the desire to travel to Haiti and help, the first thing they had to figure out was which group to travel and work with. For Beyda and Feinstein, the decision was easy. Beyda, a clinical care physician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, also is medical director for Mission of Mercy, a nonprofit group that helps provide needy children in 22 countries, including Haiti, with physical and spiritual necessities. Beyda himself makes six-to-eight trips per year, and had just been to Haiti in November.

“When I heard about the earthquake, I assembled a team and we were there within four days,” he says.

Beyda and his team packed all of their own supplies, chartered a jet out of Miami with another organization and spent a week in the middle of Port-au-Prince working on trauma rescue and intervention. In that time, he estimates they helped more than 750 people.

Feinstein, who works in trauma surgery and critical care at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, traveled to Haiti with the International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT), a group he’s been a member of for seven years. According to Feinstein, IMSuRT is the only federal disaster team with surgical capabilities. This was Feinstein’s first international deployment with the group, but he was well prepared.

“The team has several drills every year where we are required to set up the whole tent system and go through drills with the equipment,” he says. “We have to take a lot of courses and continue our education online.”

The IMSuRT team “showed up in Haiti as a full hospital,” Feinstein adds. Team members brought their own anesthesiologists, critical care nurses, equipment, food, water supply and all other necessities.

Hodgson, a neurologist at Gilbert Neurology, traveled to Haiti with a group from his church, which had done mission work in the Dominican Republic.

For Padley, an orthopedic surgeon with his own practice who also works at Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix, the decision on which group to work with was not as obvious. He ended up joining a team from Orlando, Fla., that had a specific need for his specialty.

“Once I saw (the disaster) unfolding, there was a big pull on my heart to go down there,” he says. “There was an urgent need, they were in need of someone with my specialty, I volunteered and it just came together.”

Unlike the others, this was Padley’s first mission, but it was something he had always wanted to do.

“Some people in my group had gone on missions before, but they all said this wasn’t like any mission they had been on,” he adds.

Padley spent his time performing orthopedic surgery at Haiti Adventist Hospital, where he dealt with a lack of air conditioning and swarms of flies. The resilience of his patients earned his admiration.

“They still had hope,” he says. “They had gratitude for us being there. They put trust in us.”

Beyda notes that the most challenging parts of emergency relief work are the upsetting psychological effects and emotions for all involved.

“It’s a horrific place to be,” he says. “You go down there with an open mind knowing you’re going to see horrific things.”

Hodgson says it was sometimes hard to comprehend “the suffering and devastation,” but adds that he also witnessed miracles.

“Over that week I was there, my (young) patients started to become children again,” he says. “It was really neat to see that change.”

For Feinstein, the challenges were more practical.

“It is a huge transition from doing surgery here, where I have everything available to me at all times, to in an environment where the things I need to care for patients may not be readily available,” he says. “It required some improvisation. Some things were repurposed.

“Now when I have an obstacle, I realize it’s OK. We can do all right without that one special piece of equipment or high-tech stuff.”

Despite their considerable skills and talents, the devastation in Haiti left all four doctors humbled.

“It’s not about us,” Beyda says. “It’s about what we offer others, as servants to those who are seeking help. We do the best we can. It’s not about being a hero, it’s about being a servant and doing what you can do.”

Black binoculars against a white background

Financial Deception Can Flourish In Good Times And Bad

It is impossible to reflect on the recent recession without thinking of the unearthing of multimillion- and billion-dollar fraud schemes. We shake our heads and ask how it happened. Was it poor investor due diligence, a lack of government oversight, unchecked lending or just greed? But when it comes to fraud, watch out, because emerging from this recession may just be, in the words of baseball legend Yogi Berra, “Déjà vu, all over again.”

Business fraud

Forensic accountants have long known that business fraud is heavily dependent on an individual’s position in an organization and the level of tempting circumstances. Occupational fraud is commonly defined by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as “the use of one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.” We all recognize these bad acts as corruption, asset theft and financial statement fraud. The general rule for occupational fraud is the higher the rank in the organization, the greater the risk for a significant fraud to be committed.

The circumstances that create fraud temptation fall into three categories that create what is called the Fraud Triangle. This is a well-known fraud model based on the work of criminologist Donald R. Cressey, and is aimed at understanding why people commit occupational fraud. The Fraud Triangle reflects the three elements that must be present for fraud to be committed:

  • Incentive or pressure
  • Opportunity
  • Rationalization

Incentive or pressure is the presence of non-sharable personal problems, which often include a belief that money will make a problem go away. For example, an unpaid mortgage or the threat of the loss of employment can cause stress and, therefore, increase the pressure for an employee to steal an employer’s cash or fudge an expense account.

The element of opportunity requires a perception that one has the position, knowledge, skill and access needed to commit fraud unnoticed and undetected by others.

Rationalization is a person’s ability to plan, commit and hide fraud in the workplace with a belief that the bad act is reasonable and justified.

Business fraud bubble

In the first decade of this century, as the stock market continued to experience significant growth, the real estate market boomed. As employee compensation mimicked these gains, the propensity for occupational fraud skyrocketed. It was a time in which hard money loan returns were uncharacteristically high, double-digit real estate investment gains were an expectation, consumer confidence was strong, and new investment strategies abounded. Simultaneously, the rapidly growing economy and limited regulatory oversight over complex investment vehicles sparked increasing fraudulent behaviors ranging from mortgage fraud to Ponzi schemes.

In terms of the Fraud Triangle, all the elements for a fraud disaster bubble were present. Incentives for massive wealth creation were unprecedented. Investors blinded by greed created an easy opportunity for criminals. And the rationalization cry of “everyone’s doing it” was heard at every office water cooler. All the signs were there that the big burst was about to happen.

Recession fraud trouble

While much of the fraudulent behavior went undetected for years, the recent economic downturn led to increased scrutiny and fraud detection. Be warned, however, that recovery from the recession has created a whole set of new business fraud risks.

Today, we are faced with weak consumer confidence, increasing business failures, record levels of unemployment, depressed real estate markets, restricted access to loans and capital, impaired retirement accounts, and a likely future of increasing taxes and governmental debt. In the world of the forensic accountant, this is an enormous amount of pressure that is increasing the risk of fraud. That pressure, when combined with shrinking business oversight due to layoffs and cost cutting, and desperation felt by the average worker to get all he can before he is fired, add opportunity and rationalization to complete the Fraud Triangle in ways never experienced before.

Forensic accounting against fraud

More and more businesses are discovering that forensic accounting is an effective tool in the management and defense of fraud. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants defines forensic accounting services as “the application of specialized knowledge and investigative skills possessed by CPAs to collect, analyze and evaluate evidential matter and to interpret and communicate findings in the courtroom, boardroom or other administrative venue.”

Hot services right now include:

  • Fraud assessment, monitoring and compliance: Sometimes referred to as fraud “audits” (although they are not per se), these services include fraud-risk assessment, implementation of fraud detection and prevention programs and fraud monitoring activities.
  • Forensic due diligence: These services are designed to discover information and confirm facts using data analytics, investigative techniques, background checks and other methods.
  • Fraud investigation: This type of forensic service responds to allegations of fraud, white-collar crime, waste and abuse.
  • Fraudulent conveyance and preference search: Typically performed in connection with bankruptcy proceedings, this forensic service includes the search for and analysis of potentially fraudulent transfers and preferential payments.
  • Asset tracing and recovery: Forensics services in this area identify hidden assets and include efforts to locate and recover them.
  • Anti-money laundering and foreign corrupt practices act: Compliance with federal and state laws is an important activity, and these services assist to identify compliance risks and to assess and test existing systems, practices and procedures.
  • Litigation consulting: These are forensic accounting services performed in connection with litigation. Forensic accountants often serve as expert witnesses related to fraud and damages.

As much as we would like to put the fraud of the last decade behind us, exiting the current recession is looking to be a risky proposition. The pressure, opportunity and justification to commit fraud may be at unprecedented levels. A healthy awareness about this risk, together with knowledge of forensic accounting services to control the risk, will be important.

Fraud Triangle
Incentive or Pressure

  • Pressure to protect remaining equity, prevent additional profit losses, and shield assets.
  • Concerns about potential layoffs (financial well-being).
  • Insolvency concerns may drive fraudulent behaviors.Opportunity
  • Layoffs may lead to segregation of duty weaknesses or failure.
  • Budget cuts and cost containment results in less time and resources for fraud monitoring and prevention.Rationalization
  • “We need to do it to stay competitive” or “Everyone does it.”
  • Rationalize fraudulent behaviors because of perceived sacrifices during the downturn.
  • Good Samaritan Hospital at sunset

    Massive Budget Cuts Have Arizona’s Hospitals And Health Care Industry Closing Ranks

    As bad as 2009 was, the health care industry in Arizona is still bracing for the worst. So says John R. Rivers, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA), whose organization, along with others, lobbied unsuccessfully against massive legislative reductions totaling $2.7 billion to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and Arizona Department of Health Services’ budgets for fiscal 2011.

    The cuts were part of an effort by the Legislature to dig the state out of the deficit hole it finds itself in.

    “I can’t predict who is going to do what in response to these cutbacks, but I can tell you that every person in Arizona will be affected by these cuts in some negative manner — either though higher insurance premiums, more overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms, reduced services provided by hospitals or even some hospital closures,” Rivers says. “The impact of these cuts will be far-reaching and long-lasting.”

    Hospitals alone stand to lose $1.15 billion in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

    “Our focus and energies must be on the daunting challenge of dealing with the negative impact on patient care as a result of the budget cuts recently enacted in Arizona,” says Peter Fine, president and CEO of Banner Health. “These cuts will result in reductions of $2.7 billion in health care spending, including scheduled cuts of more than $1 billion to Arizona hospitals in 2011. This will place tremendous pressure on the state’s hospitals.”

    The AzHHA position is that the budget cuts not only will devastate Arizona’s health care community, but also cripple the state’s economy. Arizona’s hospital community employs approximately 73,000 people and contributes $11.5 billion to the state’s gross product. In a recent report, the Seidman Research Institute at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University estimated the budget cuts would result in a loss of 42,000 jobs across virtually every segment of the Arizona economy.

    Those job losses, Rivers says, “will worsen Arizona’s economic downturn and flies in the face of legislators’ efforts to create new jobs and revitalize the state’s business climate.”

    The health care sector would suffer the greatest loss of jobs, totaling an estimated 19,600 in 2011. Employment losses also would hit such categories as arts and entertainment, construction, finance, manufacturing, mining, real estate, retail, transportation and warehousing, according to the ASU report.

    Other startling numbers from the report indicate that real disposable income would be reduced by $1.74 billion — approximately $200 per capita — and the state’s population would shrink by 10,000.

    Even before the Legislature took final action, St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center already was dealing with the state’s budget implosion.

    “Because we are the largest hospital in Arizona, and treat more AHCCCS patients than any other private hospital, these cuts have been devastating to us,” says Linda Hunt, service area president of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) Arizona and president of St. Joseph’s. “The Legislature cut more than $14 million in funding to our hospital alone between mid-December and February. Part of these cuts wiped out funding for our graduate medical education program, which trains more than 200 medical residents in 10 different clinical specialties. We now have to make up the deficit. In addition, our charity care costs continue to increase, we are seeing more uninsured patients in our ER, and we are seeing more mentally ill patients in the ER because they have nowhere else to get help.”

    Hunt’s concern for the most vulnerable members of society is echoed by Betsey Bayless, president and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), which operates the Maricopa Medical Center.

    “About 65 percent of our patients are on AHCCCS, and we operate the Valley’s largest psychiatric inpatient hospital, Desert Vista, in Mesa,” Bayless says. “Furthermore, patients without coverage will seek care only when their conditions worsen, thus driving up emergency room demand — the most costly means of caring for illness and disease.”

    Further putting a human face on the budget cuts, health care coverage is being eliminated for 310,500 low-income adults and 47,000 children, and mental health treatment ends for 36,500 adults and children.

    Hospital officials fear their emergency rooms will be inundated by additional waves of the uninsured. Emergency rooms are federally mandated to screen and stabilize all patients, without regard to their ability to pay for care. In 2008, Arizona hospitals provided approximately $392 million in uncompensated care to uninsured patients. Hospitals make up the loss by absorbing or shifting costs to commercial health plans, which then charge businesses and individuals higher health insurance premiums, AzHHA maintains. The cost-shift, coupled with further cuts in AHCCCS hospital payment rates, amounts to a hidden tax on health care consumers, according to AzHHA.

    The budget cuts also eliminate the KidsCare Program, which provides medical services and preventive health care for children of families who cannot afford insurance. Ending the program saves the state $22.9 million, but costs the state $95.5 million in federal matching funds, for a total loss of $119 million to the state’s health care system. Hospitals will lose $44 million in revenue, AzHHA says.

    Of extreme concern to the medical community is a measure on the November ballot that targets Proposition 204, which was approved by voters in 2000. Prop. 204 expanded eligibility for AHCCCS, but the new ballot measure asks voters to deny eligibility to an estimated 315,000 individuals who benefited from the 2000 proposition. Under the ballot proposal this year, the state would save $765 million, but would lose $1.5 billion in federal matching funds, for a total reduction of $2.3 billion to the Arizona health care community. Hospitals alone would lose an estimated $851 million in revenue.

    To cope with reduced funding, MIHS has limited new hires and is formulating plans to address these unprecedented budget cuts.

    “Moreover,” Bayless says, “we recognize this is not our problem alone. Rather this is a community-wide issue, and I have been reaching out to other health care leaders about ways we can work together to best care for our Valley residents.”

    Hunt says St. Joseph’s employees have provided dozens of ideas on how the hospital can operate more efficiently, while preserving patient safety and quality care.

    “We are looking at a wide variety of community, academic and business partnerships, and are re-evaluating our strategic plan to add more focus on the service lines that are most needed in the region,” Hunt says. “We are a ‘destination hospital’ for many complex illnesses and will continue to bring patients in from around the country and around the world. We will also advocate strongly for the state to provide services for the most needy and encourage our leaders to see health care as a vital contributor to the state’s economic recovery.”

    As for its next step, Rivers says AzHHA will work to guard the funds that escaped the budget axe.

    “We will develop a proposal that protects these health care programs either through new revenue sources or requiring that existing revenue sources earmarked for these programs are used for their intended purposes — not just dropped into a black hole in the general fund,” he says.

    Woman in medical clothing sitting at a laptop

    AzHHA Expands Its Online Job Board To Encompass The Full Spectrum Of Health Care Jobs

    At a time when economic news is dominated by downsizing and layoffs, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is expanding its efforts to recruit new employees for positions ranging from janitor to physician.

    Although the state’s unemployment rate hovers at just under 10 percent, Arizona health care facilities added 1,700 jobs in January alone. To meet that continuing need, the association launched an enhanced interactive Internet job board — www.AzHealthjobs.com — that reaches from coast to coast.

    Originally launched about 10 years ago, the Web site was created by AzHHA to enable member hospitals to post open positions, much like Monster.com and Jobing.com, but was targeted strictly to hospital positions. Now, with an expanded scope that was launched on Feb. 1, the Web site is open to all segments of the health care industry, including nursing homes and doctor’s offices.

    What’s more, posted jobs don’t necessarily have to be in the medical field. For example, CPAs and others who want to work in health care facilities are encouraged to post their resumes.

    “The more that we get the word out for our enhanced Web site, the more jobs will be available,” says Patricia Weidman, director of work force and staffing services for AzHHA and who oversees the job board. “This is how we’re helping people who are looking for jobs. A lot of people don’t know about it, because previously it was limited to hospitals. We have marketed the Web site at conventions. We tell people to check it out. Hospitals use engineers, CPAs, janitorial, housekeeping, laundry positions. A lot of non-clinical positions are listed.”

    Health care used to be considered recession proof, but that changed somewhat during this past brutal downturn. Weidman says the expanded job board can help make the hiring process more cost efficient for health care providers.

    “We’re very excited about the enhancements of AzHealthjobs.com,” she says, “because we know how critical it is for employers in the health care industry to attract first-rate talent with a minimum expenditure of time and resources. And it’s important for us to help enable smooth career transitions for those seeking health industry jobs.”

    Weidman says the job board has been a valuable tool for Arizona hospitals, which currently employ 73,000 people and generate $11.5 billion to Arizona’s gross state product.

    Job seekers pay nothing to post their resumes on AzHHA’s Web site, but fees are paid by employers with positions to fill. Positions can be posted for 30 days for a fee of $350. At any given time, hospitals and other employers list 1,000 to 1,500 jobs, with direct links to individual career sites, Weidman says.

    As part of the expansion, AzHHA joined the National HealthCare Career Network (NHCN). The NHCN partnership brings together the best sources of highly qualified talent from leading professional and trade associations representing skills in all sectors of health care.

    AzHHA also is partnering with Boxwood Technology, a leading provider of career center services for the association industry. Boxwood, which administers and manages AzHHA’s jobs site, is the only such provider endorsed by the American Society of Association Executives. Boxwood also provides technical support, customer service, accounting, content management and ongoing product development. Weidman says Boxwood has a network of more than 185 leading health care associations and professional organizations.

    Any money generated from the Web site goes back to the nonprofit side of AzHHA and helps keep dues down, Weidman says.

    “So hospitals are benefiting, even though we are opening the Web site up,” she adds. “Some hospitals had expressed concern, but we were able to reassure them.”

    It’s still too early to tell how effective the newly expanded Web site will be, Weidman says. It will take time to get the word out, which she does on a monthly basis at nursing conventions and job fairs around the country.

    “I tell everyone to get their resumes on there if they’re looking for a health care position in Arizona,” Weidman says. “This is the place to be.”

    Especially for nurses. In the past, some nurses Weidman met at conventions would say they didn’t want to work in a hospital, but preferred something else, such as a nursing home. For a nurse, working in a hospital is not the same as in a nursing home, school, doctor’s office or prison. Different skills are required, and the pace is much quicker, for example, in emergency rooms and intensive care units. With the expanded Web site, nurses looking for a position can zero in on specific career opportunities.

    And despite the sorry state of the economy, hospitals, not as hard hit as other industries, are still hiring nurses.

    “Hospitals have been using a lot of temporary staff, some nurses are taking additional shifts, and some part-timers are going full-time to fill any shortages,” Weidman says. “We wouldn’t have this program if they weren’t still hiring.”

    A recent survey indicates that one-third of the RNs in Arizona are 55 or older.

    “When they retire, we still will have a nursing shortage,” Weidman says. “We’re telling hospitals that this is a perfect time to build their own resume database, so when those positions do come up, they can tap into that database and be ready to go when they have the need.”

    may10_abtech

    A New ASU Lab Asks Whether The Public Has To Give Up Its Privacy To Take Advantage Of New Technologies

    Everyone recognizes that privacy is important. But if you look at several issues that have been in the press recently, it seems like we’re always being asked to trade privacy for other benefits — security, convenience or even financial benefits.

    Arizona State University’s new Privacy by Design Research Lab in the W. P. Carey School of Business is working with industry leaders to change the conversation to one in which we capitalize on best practices in engineering, business and communications to identify practical solutions to improve products and processes without sacrificing privacy, and perhaps even enhancing it. Consider the following situations:

    Red light and speed cameras: These traffic enforcement technologies have been widely adopted in Arizona, but they are quite controversial. Those in favor of the cameras focus on improving driver safety and generating revenue for our cash-strapped state. In 2009, Arizona did have the lowest number of fatal collisions on state highways, and the speed cameras generated $19 million in revenue between October 2008 and October 2009, so maybe there is some merit in these arguments. However, these practices also raise serious privacy issues. Many citizens are concerned that Big Brother is watching them on the highway and in major intersections, and they worry that the state is capturing photographs of citizens who have done nothing wrong. For example, the photos taken often show the passengers — clearly enough to be identified — and they haven’t been speeding. Do we have to trade passenger privacy for improved highway safety and state revenue?

    Imaging technologies at airports: After the attempted terrorist bombing on an airplane this past Christmas, there was a lively discussion in the media about scanning technologies that could be used at airports to improve the Transportation Security Administration’s ability to spot a wide range of weapons carried close to travelers’ bodies. In almost every newscast, the reporters focused on a backscatter X-ray scanner’s ability to help identify security threats. But they also described the images produced as putting passengers through a “virtual strip search.” In effect, the question that was repeatedly asked was, should American citizens be willing to be viewed “naked” in order to improve national security?

    Facebook’s privacy settings: There also has been a lot of discussion around the most recent changes Facebook made to its privacy settings. Over time, the social networking Web site has created more robust privacy settings, allowing members to control their content at a more granular level. But Facebook also has made the default settings for some content public. That means the content of members who do not take the time to adjust their settings is made available to the world. Additionally, the new privacy defaults were changed to public unless users took the time to check that they wanted their former privacy settings honored.

    Location-based services: As mobile phones get smarter, creative innovators are developing applications that can greatly enhance our productivity — or at least help us get data that is appropriate, given our location. For example, when traveling you can use OpenTable’s iPhone application to help you find a highly rated, independent restaurant within two miles of your hotel, and it can give you walking directions and lead you step-by-step from your current location to your table. This convenience is amazing. But at the same time, several organizations are tracking your geographic location — accurate to within a few yards. Are the privacy issues that arise worth the great meal? Should you really have to give news services like National Public Radio access to your location data (which you must, by the way) in order to get their news feeds?

    Each of these scenarios brings up interesting privacy issues, and when you read about them, it almost always sounds as if we are facing a zero-sum game situation: Business can either deliver on privacy or earn revenue. However, this is absolutely not true, as we are advocating at ASU. The challenge is to identify or develop, if necessary, technologies and processes that can deliver the same level of security and convenience without sacrificing privacy or profits. For example, traffic cameras can “blank out” driver and passenger faces unless authorized individuals enter security codes that allow users to “see” the driver’s face, while still protecting the passenger’s privacy. Similarly, if the TSA adopted millimeter-scanning devices, they would be as accurate as the backscatter devices and simultaneously better at protecting individual privacy. And we could all go through security without taking off our shoes, improving our overall convenience.

    What these examples highlight is that there needs to be a radical shift in expectations. Organizations must consider privacy issues when creating new products and services. If they do, they can enjoy a positive-sum game, improving their relationships with customers, which can lead to higher profits. The statement made over a decade ago by former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it,” is actively being challenged at ASU’s Privacy by Design Research Lab.

    We are working with internationally known privacy guru Ann Cavoukian, the information and privacy commissioner of Ontario, Canada, and primary developer and proponent of the Privacy by Design concept. The ASU research lab is the first such ambassador program in the United States with Cavoukian providing executive guidance. With initial seed funding from the Privacy Projects, we have begun initiatives to develop actionable guidance for emerging business situations. Our first project is focusing on best practices for mobile applications, helping those who are developing applications such as OpenTable to determine what personal data is needed to be successful, and what practices should be put in place to ensure customers get great service without giving up their privacy. If you’d like to learn more and join in the discussions, please join us for one of our monthly meetings.

    Heidi and Mike standing in front of a TV with their logo on the screen

    Heidi Paley & Mike Dietterick, Co-owners Of EnVizon, Launched Their Company Amidst An Economic Slowdown

    Heidi Paley & Mike Dietterick
    EnVizon
    Title: Co-Owners
    Est: 2007  |  www.envizonit.com

    “Even though there’s that recession out there, there’s been more of an opportunity for us in Arizona. It’s a very good market to be in.” – Heidi Paley

    In April 2007, Heidi Paley took a risk. At a time when the economy was beginning to show signs of slowing down and some owners were scrambling to find a way to save their businesses, Paley decided it was the perfect time for her to step out and launch her own company. Today, Paley is CEO and co-owner of EnVizon, a home automation company.

    “I saw a lot of opportunity” in the economic slowdown, Paley says. “Not just to get into business, but to be the very best at what we do in this industry.”

    EnVizon provides design installation and services for home electronics and sells a variety of related products, mostly from Control4.

    Paley began her career in the home electronics industry 10 years ago, working retail for Ultimate Electronics. As one of 600 employees and one of six females, Paley knew she would have to work hard to stand out and make it in the business.

    “I’m a go-getter,” Paley says. “It’s a very male-dominant industry. When I couldn’t find resources in my store, I wasn’t afraid to go outside. I was able to make connections with manufacturers. When I started EnVizon, I had strong relationships that a lot of professionals have trouble getting.”

    Last year, Paley and EnVizon’s co-owner and president, Mike Dietterick, took another risk and brought in an electrical division to add another team to the company, which has 12 employees and is soon expanding to 20. EnVizon has an office in Scottsdale, a satellite office in Mesa and a showroom at the Home & Design Idea Center in North Scottsdale. In the future, Paley hopes to break into international markets.

    “We’re definitely proven,” she says. “We’re an established, reputable business here in the Valley. We want to take our business model and expand it.”

    Paley’s favorite part of the company is working with home automation services.

    “Making it happen is so awesome,” she says. “You can start small and then expand upon that. Being able to automate things is incredibly cool. You dream it up and we will make it happen.”

    Enhancing a customer’s quality of life is paramount to Paley and Dietterick.

    “We had a vision of implementing the latest technologies through system design, greatly improving consumers’ lives, comfort, ease of living and lifestyle,” he says.

    But EnVizon doesn’t limit itself to home projects. The company contributed to the Aria Hotel & Casino at CityCenter in Las Vegas, which Paley describes as “the world’s largest IT project ever executed.”

    “To be a part of that was an awesome experience,” she adds, calling it the company’s greatest accomplishment.

    Having been through the challenges of starting a business in tough times, Paley urges fellow entrepreneurs to know exactly what they are getting into.

    “The minute you go into the business, you need to know your numbers,” she says. “Have a plan. It’s OK to revise it, but have that plan, set your goals and achieve them.”

    Marinello standing in front of a building

    CEO Series: Anthony Marinello

    Anthony Marinello
    CEO, Mountain Vista Medical Center/IASIS Healthcare

    What will be the impact of Arizona’s budget cuts on hospitals in particular and the health care industry in general?

    All hospitals are going to feel the impact. There are several areas: education, economy, jobs, general medical education; and it’s just going to take a big effect on us. It’s really going to change the way we do things. But we are still going to be here to take care of our patients and give them high quality of care. The cuts this year, that just occurred in March, are going to cost several millions of dollars, which will drastically impact patient care and patient’s ability to come there. But, like we say, we’ll be open and still take care of our patients.

    What will be the effect of the recently signed federal health care reform?

    I think everybody agrees that we need health care reform. There’s no doubt about it. The key with this will be to continue to build and strengthen relationships with our physicians, who ultimately have the relationships with the patients. It’s so new right now, that I think everybody is trying to grab it and grasp onto what the effects are going to be. You have physicians that are nervous; you have hospitals trying to figure out what (it will mean to them). It’s going to be interesting. The key part we all really agree on is the electronic medical records, which is good for the transparency and being able to avoid duplications of testing and things like that. We are currently, at Mountain Vista, way ahead of the curve on our electronic medical records, and physicians like that. It’s a very good tool to be able to see the records from the hospital or even your office, because it’s Internet based. So it’s been very, very good for us.

    We’ve heard much about the nursing shortage in Arizona. Has there been any improvement in that situation?

    There will always be a need for nursing. Per se, we haven’t really seen much of a shortage here. We’ve been able to attract a lot of the new graduates coming out. IASIS as a company, since 2005, has been engaged with schools and several universities. We’ve seen about 350 students coming through, which we work with them and eventually employ them, so we have been very, very fortunate in that part. We always have people looking to become a nurse. You have certified nursing assistants that want to go to the next level, so that ability is there where we provide assistance for them.

    What are the areas where Arizona’s health care industry is really excelling?

    In the short time I’ve been in Arizona, where I’ve seen (the health care industry is excelling in) is education. (Arizona State University) has a health school, (University of Arizona), (NAU), A.T. Still (University), Midwestern University. And actually our facility is partnered up with Midwestern University for the medical student program for physicians, and we’re looking at what the future can be to keep education and future physicians in this area. So we are really proud to be partners with them and just continuing to grow. We just engaged in this last July, so it’s very new to us.

    In these changing times, what does a C-level executive need to succeed in the health care industry?

    You have to build strong relationships. You have to be a good communicator. You have to be honest. You have to be up front. If something can’t be done, you’ve got to tell it. You can’t just leave things alone. You have to be visible, high visibility. You have to be able to talk to all staff, from your environmental services person to the president of your company to every physician. It’s just very, very important to think outside the box, to listen to what people have to say, because there are a lot of people with good ideas out there. That’s something I’ve prided myself on and the team I work with and our C-level here that our doors are open, we’re always there, we want to hear, we want to listen. The relationship building has been a strength for us here.

    Vital Stats: Anthony Marinello

    • Named CEO of Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa in 2008
    • Served as CEO of IASIS’ North Vista Hospital in North Las Vegas from 2005 to 2008
    • Served as hospital administrator for Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas
    • Began career in 1979 as a hospital laboratory manager
    • Received MBA from the University of Phoenix
    • Member of the American College of Healthcare Executives
    • www.mvmedicalcenter.com
    Active lobby of Home & Design Idea Center

    A New Home And Remodeling Concept Debuts In Scottsdale

    When Sytek’s Design owner Charlie Sytek was ready to launch his decorative bio-fuel fire business, LookAtMyFire.com, the only thing missing was a location. But even in a time when the commercial real estate market was upside down, finding affordable space for a young retail business proved difficult. Continue reading