March 15, 2010

Share your All Saints experience ...

I just have a minute here before running off, but wanted to bring a little more attention to local resident Heather Rayne's Facebook effort to collect stories about Wheaton-Franciscan All Saints.

A few weeks back the community exploded over a near rebellion among local doctors over a series of issues ranging from billing problems to doctors feeling micromanaged. But as quickly as the issue rose, it dissipated.

We took a brief step back because people were starting to get scared. The reality is Wheaton can handle medical emergencies - I took a tour of their emergency department and will have a story on it this week - and there are several dedicated local doctors who provide good care to local residents.

That said, Wheaton deserves "watching," as the JT puts it. By all accounts our major health care provider has a miserable record billing patients and a terrible reputation among local residents. Sure, people complain about their doctors and how expensive it is for even minor procedures. But it's clear from last month's explosion of public outcry that fundamental changes are needed at Wheaton.

So let's start building a case. Heather has a brilliant idea of collecting people's stories through Facebook and using them to write a letter laying out the need for better health care in Racine. If you have a moment, take the time to write her note or add your story to the page.

We'll jump back into the story in the near future, hopefully with a closer look at our local health care system.


  1. I don't want to leave my story over there because of anonymity. So here it is:

    A few years ago when my husband and I were returning from our honeymoon, we both injured our backs from carrying too much stuff in our carry-on bags. The pain we both experienced was excrutiating. So off to Dr. Nicholson we BOTH went. My husband was given a prescription for a pain killer, but I wasn't. When I went back after a week or so with more pain, I was still not given any pain relief.

    I won't go so far as to claim sexism. But I have to wonder.

  2. Received a Wheaton All Saints Bill today. It gave the service date, the amount charged, the insurance payment and the balanced that I have to pay.

    I did not list a doctor, location of the service or what procedure was performed. It is difficult to pay a bill without knowing what it is for and who the doctor was. No explanation or itemization.

    Nothing has changed or will it ever!

  3. I think the girl on Facebook might run into this anonymity problem with others. So here's mine:

    A few years ago my husband had a pretty severe AC separation and required lengthy rotator cuff surgery. The surgeon was great, but the hospital staff, totally different story.

    Shortly after surgery my husband began vomiting rather violently - from what I understand, not an uncommon post-op reaction to anesthesia. After hours of watching this and trying to get him some relief, the only reason I left the hospital, finally at about 10 p.m. was because the nurse promised she was contacting the surgeon to get orders for whatever shot it is they give to counteract the nausea.

    The next morning I called at 8 a.m. to check on hubby. The nurse (different one) tells me he's been vomiting/dry heaves all night!!!WTF!!

    I asked why he never got the shot? New nurse tells me the other one's shift must have ended and she must have forgotten to call the doctor and didn't leave a note for the next shift. OK - but what about you? Why didn't you call the doctor? Did you just watch him vomit all night and it never dawned on you to do anything?

    Unnecessarily inhumane is the phrase that comes to mind.

  4. My experience is more a symptom of the healthcare crisis and likely to be found in most any hospital.

    I went to a urologist at WF for a prostate exam and PSA test. Because I have a high deductible and individual coverage, I offered to pay with a check or cash if they'd give me a reduced rate (since they didn't need to wait or spend any time collecting it). I was stunned that the bill was over $700. A simple preventive exam and test... treatment. Wow!

    Looks like I can only afford to die early.

  5. Dustin,

    I think people are just tired and fed up. Between the terrible coverage by the Journal Times and the barrage of press releases and bogus letters to the editor - we just don't know what to believe. I feel like I'm being lied to on a daily basis and there is no hope to understand the actual truth. There is so much money at stake, whether it be the surgeons, nurses, Wheaton management, The Journal Times (ad revenue), etc. All have a good reason to distort the truth or even downright lue through their teeth.

    The only power I have is to vote with my dollars and right now my gut tells me to vote somewhere other than Wheaton and The Journal Times.

  6. Does everyone know there is written policy at Wheaton which says no employee is free to share any information, even if it is about themselves, with the media. If it is determined they did they will be fired on the spot.

    One of these days, just one of these days all this will catch up with Wheaton. I can't wait.

  7. Anon 11:47 - Yup, we ran into that policy with a recent story. All Saints PR says it's not an automatic firing, but employees have told me that's not their belief. Regardless, it's really difficult to get All Saints employees to talk about their jobs.

  8. I have firsthand info and evidence about all saints mismanagment, punitive actions towards employees including doctors, billing & collection problems etc. But I don't know how to get it to you. I will not email it and you don't have an address...

  9. My step-dad was being treated for his terminal cancer at All Saints. His end of life care at the hospital was the worse thing I have ever seen. It was the Nurse who told us that he would be passing within a day- the doctor didn't even come in and talk to us. Just seemd like they didn't care. He was just swept under the rug. I wish we could re-do the whole situation and have him go to Milwaukee for his care.

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  11. If there ever was a need for a Union, Wheaton in Racine is a top candidate to get one. I can tell you for a fact that the Materials Management employees morale is at a all time low. The Manager of the department Cheri Myers rules with fear, and intimidation on a daily basis. At the reflections she talks about Mission, Vision, and Values and drills it in the employees how important they are, but Cheri dosen't follow these rules herself. Policies, and procedures, are changed not to improve customer satisfaction, or service, but only to impress her bosses. In fact these changes have made the easiest task much harder for the employees to accomplish, and has added more hours to achieve these jobs. She is given free reign by above to do whatever she wants. (Some fixes.) 1. Ken Buser you need to get a Consultant in here, that not only talks to the Managers, but also to the Employees doing the jobs. 2. Hire a Vice President who actually knows how a Materials Management Department is run. 3. Send Cheri Myers to a class to show her how to treat employees with the dignity they so much deserve. 4. Ken Buser, talk to the employees in Materials on a one on one basis, with no fear of them losing thier jobs for what is said. Ken if you really care about the Employees, you will do some of the things stated above. If you don't Like I stated above "Wheaton is a Top Candidate for a UNION."

  12. It is now 5 weeks since the Wheaton Meltdown began and nothing has changed. At a reflection last week, Cheri Myers of Materials Management made comments about 2 ex employees, Frank Porcaro, and Ann Bertling. She called Frank a disgruntaled employee, and said that Ann was fired after many chances given. Ken Buser, I ask you why is Cheri allowed to talk about employees who have been gone for years. Do you not have Confidentiality Rules at Wheaton?Is it that Cheri has a guilty conscience for what she has done in the past? In
    Cheri's world the reason Frank is a disgruntal employee is because he gave his opinion, a opinion different from hers. See that is not allowed in Materials. Frank was lucky he got out before Cheri had the chance to fire him. Ken, are you seeing a problem here? Ann Bertling wasn't that lucky, she was cotinually threatened, and harassed on a day to day basis for months. When Ann finally went to Tim Harris for help, Ann paid the ultimate price for her actions, She was Fired. Ken, I ask you again, are you seeing a problem here? Cheri Myers has POISENED this department for years with her lousy attitude. Something needs to be done with this situation. Ken Buser I hope you agree. Cheri also said she prays for these 2 employees. Cheri your Employees pray for you also, They Pray that you either QUIT or GET FIRED.

  13. As a consumer, I'm afraid to speak out against Wheaton our of fear of retribution against me and my family.

    Any company that treats their employees like that will treat their customers the same.

  14. Hi there. I am the resident to whom Dustin was referring. I COMPLETELY understand the anonymity issue. And I do not blame anyone a single bit. I do believe that the charts get flagged for any reason they decided and it does in turn effect our health care.

    I have been with my primary physician for well over 10 years now. She and her staff are very respectful and kind. I am still a patient and I too fear that after writing about All Saints it will be in my best interest to find another primary. This makes me sad.

    Either writing the stories here anonymously, or at my site anonymously!656F9A4108C3E513!7340.entry (this is where I will be writing my own personal stories, only two there so far) or you can email me at

    What always concerned me were 2 major issues...the way women are dismissed as “anxious” when true maladies exist (I believe there is rampant sexism and racism at All Saints...I know MANY employees and have worked there myself) and I have a belief that the physicians are simply pressured far too much by the administration and insurance companies. They have to see a certain number or patients (at least that was what was taught to me when I worked there many years ago) making it virtually impossible to care for a patient properly in the short amount of their time that is available. They also have to be so careful how to code something because even if you may NEED a test, because your appt code & diagnosis code may not fit...the test will not be covered. I think that is why many tests are overlooked. I do not blame the doctors and nurses, especially in the clinic side. ER and Hospital Staff could certainly work on their bedside manner.

    But something does need to be done. All Saints has the monopoly on Health care in this area and we deserve and should started demanding better care WITH respect.

    Every magazine you read, any talk show or medical program...they always say to be very proactive in your own health care. To ask for specific tests which can save your life. To research and learn so you can be an informed patient. But Newsflash...doctors HATE this. They do NOT want to hear it. They do not want you to research the pharmaceutical poisons the reps paid them to dispense (with gifts, free lunches, game tickets, etc). This is not the way the new wave of preventative medicine should be heading.

    I gotta tell ya, I don't read JT much at all anymore. And I was completely unaware of the Wheaton stories that were recently published. Too weird.

  15. Heather Rayne3/17/2010 3:00 PM

    One more thing that needs to be examined extensively is their mental health department. The doctors they hire are nothing but dealers. A quick google and you can get whatever you really want. Especially if that is an ADD med that will keep you awake and thin. This city in general is the worst excuse for mental health providers I could even imagine. There are like...what?? 4 or 5 actual psychiatrist left in Racine?? It is a terrible state to be in and they wonder why this city is in the shape it is in. Sorry...last blurb today LOL :)

  16. During an appointment with my WF doctor, I asked him to check my skin for any signs of potential cancer due to high incidents of sunburn in childhood. He began checking my arms and neck, then asked me to remove my shirt. I did so. He continued checking, then asked me to remove my bra. As an VERRY conservative young woman, the request, though made casually, made me uncomfortable. At that moment, I had that odd feeling some of us women are fully aware of - that moment when you question whether something is truly inappropriate or if you're really just blowing the whole thing out of proportion. I ignored my gut instinct and went with the latter. I have always felt irritated by that decision, since I know that the policy indicates that he should have had a second person present the moment he began asking me to undress.

    A few months later, my doctor and two or three others were terminated from WF. They were walked out of the building by security. The event was so unusual that it made the newspaper. Those of us who were patients were never given any explanation. Because of my experience, I would really like to know the reason behind those terminations. I would like to know if any other patients had similar experiences in which they felt uncomfortable or were asked to undress without a second person present.

  17. Heather Rayne3/18/2010 6:08 PM

    While working at All Saints, I remember our department was cautioned during a meeting not to wear our All Saints badges in public for our SAFETY. They even knew back in the late 90s that the public was mad as hell.

    I always thought that was weird...interesting tho, eh?

  18. It's not just a Racine issue. Wheaton is named in a huge lawsuit in Iowa because of their role in letting CRNAs run a sham pain clinic there. They did nothing after the medical staff tried to intervene. Sound familiar? The whole Wheaton system is rotten.