Cone Health CEO Terry Akin has weighed in on the angry, offensive and highly unprofessional email from the Cone Health employee who chastised North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell and the NC Health Plan Board of Trustees for a change in the way the state will pay for the healthcare.
On Monday, July 1, Frank Kauder, assistant director of Finance for Cone Health, sent the email to the Folwell and the health plan board, who are mostly volunteers, about the new method of paying for healthcare for those in the state system which includes over 720,000 state employees and retirees, the Clear Pricing Project. The average payment under the Clear Pricing Project is over 180 percent of the Medicare rate.
“Your plan to cut payments to hospitals could possibly be the most moronic idea I have ever seen come out of our state government,” Kauder wrote in the now famous email, “and since you Retardicans have taken power, that’s saying a lot.”
Kauder went on to write that the move by the state revealed the positions of state leaders to be that the rich can pay for the services they need “and the poor can die in the streets.”
“Poor people generally don’t vote for your party, so you want them to die,” Kauder continued, adding, “Burn in hell you sorry son’s of [Deleted].”
Cone chose not to participate in the Clear Pricing Project which means those in the state healthcare system will pay out of network fees for services at Cone.
Akin’s tone and message in his letter to state leaders this week was a little more soothing than Kauder’s, to say the least. In his letter to a large number of legislators, and to members of state health committees, Akin distanced himself and Cone Health from the scathing comments that raised eyebrows earlier this month.
Akin wrote that many of the state legislators and others had no doubt seen media reports of the harsh email, and he stated that the employee was “expressing his personal opinion and frustration.” Akin also stated that the language used in the email was “unprofessional, highly offensive, and wholly inappropriate, completely counter to the culture and values of Cone Health or anything our organization’s leadership would support or condone.”
In his letter to state leaders, Akin went on to explain that, though the employee was reported in the news to be a “Cone Health executive,” he is actually “a line-level assistant manager who is in no way engaged in executive-level discussions.”
According to Akin, the language in the email doesn’t remotely reflect the thinking of anyone on the Cone leadership team.
Akin concluded: “Cone Health leadership always strives to adhere to the principle that real problems get solved only with respectful, civil dialogue over issues on which we may disagree. Moreover, that type of interaction is the key to developing the best possible health plan for state employees. The terrible judgment exercised by this single employee was very unfortunate and in no way helpful at a time when our leadership team and I have been seeking nothing other than to build bridges for collaboration on the future of health care for our state. It is my sincere hope that we can move forward together and engage in creating the very best health plan for our deserving and indispensable teachers, troopers, other state employees and all North Carolinians.”