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The [Monday] Papers

"Executive pay keeps climbing at Blue Cross of Illinois' parent company, even as the health insurance giant lays off workers and looks for a new strategy," Crain's reports.

"The 10 highest-paid employees at Health Care Service Corp. got a combined $70 million last year, up 58 percent from 2018. The biggest winner was Paula Steiner, who stepped down as CEO in July. Her total compensation surged 120 percent to $31 million about $12 million of which was severance pay."

Paula Steiner, you are Today's Worst Person In Illinois.

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From Crain's in January:

Blue Cross of Illinois parent Health Care Service Corp. is cutting about 400 employees as it positions itself for growth in a rapidly changing industry.

The layoffs, announced internally today, include middle management positions - mostly employees with senior manager and director titles, HCSC spokesman Greg Thompson told Crain's.

Thompson said the affected employees are based across the company's service areas. HCSC - which owns Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans in Illinois, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico - has about 24,000 total employees. He would not say how many jobs are being cut in Illinois, where the company has about 11,400 workers.

Greg Thompson, you were That Day's Worst Person In Illinois.

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"The layoffs come a month after the company cut 'a few dozen middle-management positions,' and six months after CEO Paula Steiner's departure kick-started a wave of executive exits."

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Back to today's Crain's:

Board member David Lesar, who took over as interim CEO, pocketed $6.2 million; Maurice Smith, who was named president, got $3.6 million; and board Chairman Milton Carroll got a 429 percent boost to $4.9 million.

The massive raises come amid increasing cost pressures and rising uncertainty for the entire health care industry, and HCSC in particular. The nation's sixth-largest health insurer cut "a few dozen" staffers late last year - followed by an additional 400 in January - and needs to step up growth to compete with rivals.

There's always a reason.

Carroll, an energy industry executive, pocketed $4.9 million last year as part of a deal - the terms of which were not disclosed - "to ensure a smooth transition" and provide "proper support" to Lesar and Smith, spokesman Greg Thompson says in an e-mail. Carroll's compensation "reflects the additional time, effort, focus and input during this time of transition."

Caroll's net worth is around $18 million.

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"Thompson did not say how many hours per week Carroll, who is also a director at oil services company Halliburton, devotes to HCSC business. He's not the only high-level connection linking HCSC and the Houston-based energy industry giant."

Thompson gets paid a lot of money to not say.

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"[S]ources say Carroll's arrangement is unusual for an outside director.

Because HCSC is not a public company, "There's very little oversight and very little transparency," Attila Hertelendy, a health care expert and business professor at Florida International University, told Crain's. "Nobody is holding them accountable so, realistically, they can do whatever they want."

Carroll collected $930,347 in 2018, after getting nearly $5 million in each of the two previous years as part of a deal to oversee the leadership transition when Steiner succeeded Hall. Steiner, who spent more than three decades at Blue Cross & Blue Shield companies, left after disagreeing with directors over long-term growth plans.

Carroll's compensation is far more than nonexecutive board chairmen got at comparable publicly traded health insurers. Humana and Cigna, for example, paid their chairmen $544,044 and $575,352, respectively.

Haven't we seen enough of for-profit health care?

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McMasks
"McDonald's plans to donate 1 million N95 masks to health care workers in Chicago and Illinois as concerns mount that hospitals will run out of safety gear to protect those on the front lines fighting COVID-19," the Tribune reports.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but what took so long?

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"The Chicago-based fast-food giant said it came across and purchased the stash of coveted N95 masks as it searched for nonmedical-grade masks to distribute to McDonald's workers nationwide. The company plans to donate 750,000 of them to the City of Chicago and 250,000 to the State of Illinois . . .

"McDonald's said it has been coordinating with its global network of suppliers to help local communities and was able to procure the masks from a Chinese supplier. The company previously donated $1 million and 400,000 KF94 masks, the Korean equivalent of N95s, to Illinois' COVID-19 relief fund."

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Also:

"McDonald's mask find came as the company sought additional protection for its own workers that continue to serve the public amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most McDonald's restaurants remain open for drive-thru, takeout and delivery, and the company has been criticized by some for not doing enough to keep its workers or the public from getting sick.

"Infrared thermometers are in the process of being shipped to its restaurants across the country so that workers can undergo temperature checks when they clock in, Dave Tovar, vice president of U.S. communications, said Friday. The thermometers will arrive first in markets authorities have designated as hot zones for the virus - New York City, Seattle and San Francisco - and will roll out nationally as supplies become available. Chicago is not currently considered a hot spot . . .

"Employees at a Los Angeles McDonald's went on strike Sunday after a worker tested positive for COVID-19, calling for a two-week quarantine period with full pay. Other strikes took place last week in Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis; and Tampa, Florida, to demand personal protective equipment, hazard pay and paid sick leave, according to organizers with the Fight for $15, a movement to organize fast-food workers."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Bill Withers In The Beachwood
Lean on him.

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Trump's Favorite Network (It's Not Fox)
"The whole selling point is that they are Fox News with even less shame and even fewer scruples."

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Government Secrecy Growing During Pandemic
"The recent information closures are reminiscent of actions immediately following 9/11, when governments closed massive amounts of information."

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Beachwood Sports Radio: With All Due Respect, Ed Farmer Was An Awful Announcer And The Media Coverage Of His Death Is Atrocious
The job of the journalist is to tell the truth, not be a clubby insider. Plus: Q Life; Les Grobstein Still Employed - Others Not So Lucky; If You Love Chicago So Much Why Don't You Live There?; Bears Bargain Basement; Dippy DePaul; Ex-Cub Jhonny Pereda Makes Coronavirus History; and How Coffman Denied His Lineage To Become A Cubs Fan.

+

The White Sox Report: The Farmer Files
"I can recall barking at my car radio asking him to at least tell me the score. But at least he lived his dreams."

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Saul Tillock's Chicago Blues
"Most people sit down to write the best book ever written. Tillock has somehow managed to write the worst."

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Meet The New Boss: Science Publishing's Revolution
An open-access model very different than what open-access activists envisioned.

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ChicagoReddit

Are there any active Norwegian communities in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Never Been To Chicago" / Reformed Faction

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BeachBook

Meet The Bee With The Body That Is Half Male, Half Female.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

Fauci should go first.

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The Beachwood Q-Tip Line: Sweet, like sugar.



Permalink

Posted on April 6, 2020


MUSIC - This Summer's Soundtrack Started Here.
TV - M*A*S*H Theme Song's Weird History.
POLITICS - SCOTUS Blesses Church + State.
SPORTS - Tip Your Cap To The Negro Leagues.

BOOKS - The Legacy Of Racism For Children.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Chagall Windows.


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