Sunday, March 25, 2007

Let Them Eat Language-Warning Cake


Patrick Chorpenning can resent me; for thinking, that is. For thinking that he's a liar and yet another completely out-of-touch-with-reality "administrator" that basically takes home a big paycheck and a lot of vacation time for being a stupid irresponsible jerk and bullshit artist.

From the local birdcage liner:

"Catherine Corbin, the home's former administrator, one of those five employees, said Saturday that some problems stemmed from the fact that Chorpenning's relatives worked at the nursing home. Other problems involved staffing, she said.

Chorpenning, reached on Saturday, strongly disputed those claims, saying Corbin never told him about conditions at the nursing home."

And Chorpenning never bothered to ask. And he never went to take a real good long look at things himself. And I can tell you exactly why:

He's an "administrator." Distant, ignorant, arrogant, disinterested, and a fool, in my humble opinion.


There's a nursing shortage. That can cause the price of nursing services to go up, if you actually believe all that crap about supply-and-demand.

Registry nursing staff, certified nursing assistants among them, become "registry" so they don't have to work weekends, in many cases. Most hospitals and nurses require nursing staff to work every other weekend. After a few decades this wears on the homelife so some healthcare providers gravitate to registry jobs in which they are not required to work holidays and weekends.

Those with nursing skills, certifications, and licenses who are willing, as registry, to come in on short call to fill weekend or holiday vacancies and sick-calls, do so because that's where the big bucks are. More supply and demand stuff, you see.

"Chorpenning said Saturday that he didn't want registry staff because they aren't as familiar with the patients as regular staff members are. He said he was not aware of any reports of staffing shortages until a separate report conducted by Veterans Affairs in January."

Total bullshit, in my increasingly humble opinion. I just get more humble with every breath I take.

He didn't want registry because of the costs. He's lying.

He'd rather the already-overworked (if you doubt they are overworked then look at turnover rates, morale, and maybe even just ask a few of them,) staff just let the clients, our veterans, soak in their own excrement a few more hours or days than pay to have enough people on the job.

His claims of being unaware of staffing shortages are also bullshit. There's just no more appropriate word for this. Again, not only is he actually out-of-touch, he thinks he can use this as a trump card. Because that's what we all expect from most "administrators," isn't it?

It's "The Peter Principle." People rise to the level of their incompetence, then their career progress stops. People get to be administrators because that is the level at which they maximize their incompetence.

When I was in highschool this was frequently discussed. Now, not so much. Because it has become a cultural expectation.

The article also suggests that nepotism may have been involved. Chorpenning's wife apparently was the official drapery-chooser for a while, and it looks like the position may have been created for her.

"Chorpenning's wife also worked at the nursing home as a director of interior design for the past five years. Her salary was not available Saturday."


"His wife's position was created through the state Department of Administration, and she reports to the veterans agency purchasing department. She has no effect on patient care."

That's why she got the job. So she could be paid to have no effect on patient care. Every sorry dollar she made could have gone to more bedside caregivers.

"His son also worked at the home several years ago as an administrative intern, Chorpenning said."

Paid or unpaid intern? Take a guess.

Here's a little more of the "out-of-touch" syndrome, lame excuse, or just plain bullshit that you can expect from such people:

"Chorpenning said he visited the facility weekly and didn't notice any problems. He met with Corbin weekly and didn't hear about staffing problems."

Some people only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear, especially if their paychecks depend on such blissful ignorance. Plus, I have to wonder how the patients' families noticed problems but a guy who claims to have visited the facility weekly was completely unaware of these?

Gee shrimplate, that's very good question.

Chorpenning is also an elitist, insulting, arrogant jerk, in the depths of my so very humble opinion, for blaming the staff for their own state of overwork:

"Chorpenning said the problems at the home aren't about lack of staff: They are about staff not being responsive enough to answer call-light buttons and managers not holding them accountable."

Usually I am reserved in my language, but "fucking asshole" seems to be the best and most economical term in the English language to describe the kind of self-serving brutal psychopath who would say something like that. Two words that say so much.


I personally work in what you would consider to be a well-staffed facility with a good boss, hourly rounding, and way-above-this-kind-of-crap administration, but I can only answer one call light at a time. If there's three or four on it's a crap shoot as to who I get to first. Sometimes I'll walk by all the rooms with call lights on and peek in, and if one of them is lying blue on the floor, I help them first. Sometimes I just know.


Wouldn't you just love to have a job like Chorpenning's? You could create painful problems for veterans by understaffing your facilities and then blame the very people trying their best to help for being inadequate. You could give your son and your wife cushy jobs. You get all the bling and none of the responsibility.

But you'd have to live with yourself.

Easy for nutjobs like this guy. Hard for people with intact moral centers.

I do have sympathy for family members of these vets, but they might want to go a few hundred miles in the shoes of the caregivers and reconsider just where the buck stops.

"I remember walking in one day to see every light in my Dad's hallway 'on' while five to six employees were enjoying cake around the nurses' station," Linda LaStrange of Mesa said in an e-mail.

That may have been the only thing those staff members had eaten all day.Who knows?

Frequently I work from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. before I stop for fifteen minutes to hog down a few bites. Then I go straight on through to about 8 p.m. At a very well-staffed unit. Other staffers lunch even later. It's part of the job, unfortunately.

My job, not Chorpenning's.

And of course all the call lights were on. Call lights are always on; not all of them at once, but a few minutes' rest for the staff and on go the lights one-by-one and soon a whole of bunch of them are lit up like Paris on Bastille Day.

Linda takes the bait because as I said above, she assumes; no, she knows that Chorpening the "administrator" is supposed to be irresponsible, uninformed, and out-of-touch, while the actual hands-on bedside workers strain under stressful conditions to do the impossible; well, these are who to blame. Like I said, it's a cultural expectation now.


It's impossible for any one person to entirely meet the needs of any other one person.

Just ask any mother.

To ask a certified nursing assistant to meet the needs of a dozen or more completely helpless elderly veterans is to ask them to do more than what's merely impossible. But they are at least the ones who try. Not the "administrators."

Chorpenning should be shackled during the day and only be released at night to work twelve-hour shifts changing adult briefs, colostomy bags, and bedsore dressings for our veterans whose care he claims to "administer." At retirement he could hop the bedrails and spend the rest of his days soaking in his own disgusting filth. His brain is already saturated with it, so it would be an easy transition.

And Linda should hold him accountable. Instead of complaining about the overworked and powerless people slaving away at her father's bedside, maybe she could write a critique to Chorpenning's boss, who probably just loves Chorpie's excellent work.

Like that would do any good. Chorpenning's boss is likely to be an even bigger jerk. But's here's Chorpenning:

Arizona Department of Veterans Service


Craig said...

You really should quit holding back and tell us how you really feel.


Kookaloomoo said...

Huh. So, you mean to say that long-term "care" facilities in AZ are JUST LIKE those in MA? Wow. I'm shocked. What with the virtual masses of qualified, English-speaking, skilled and kind nursing assistants just banging down the door to come wipe ass for minimum wage at your average nursing home. Oh, and all those equally skilled, intelligent, caring, energetic LPNs who don't mind the 12 hour days spent completing stacks of useless paperwork in addition to the overwhelming amount of actual patient care expected of them. It seems elders should be quivering in anticipation of the day they can no longer manage at home and get to go live in the beautiful building on the hill with the chandeliers and tastefully coordinated upholstery and draperies. Do you mean to tell me, Shrimplate, that chandeliers and coordinated window treatments aren't indications of the wonderful care being provided? I would, however, like to make one point, as I am married to an extremely dedicated, caring and qualified DON who is forced to staff her weekends and off shifts with agency staff: the nursing management works just as hard as the floor staff to do what needs to be done. SP wipes asses, answers call lights, and changes bed linens right along side her staff. Which is why her home is among the most well-regarded in the area. But the administrator is up her butt sideways on a weekly basis about her budget and the census, and has absolutely no idea what she does every day. He's an idiot in a suit who lives in a tastefully decorated office down the hall and is concerned only with whether or not there is a body in every bed in the building.

Eli Blake said...

He probably claims that the care is on par with the 'best in the business.' Like Walter Reed, for example.

GingerJar said...

Oh, and yes it is that way in this state too...they fire a few, and move a few administrators around...but it never changes. I've worked with nurses who work VA and the stories are sad. Glad you, at least, are on the soapbox...