No more free parking at the U of I Hospitals for Patients?

This just came in my e-mail:

“The present local and national economic environment is having a major impact on our financial performance. As part of our ongoing effort to align expenses with revenues without impacting direct patient care, we have reached the very difficult decision to eliminate the complimentary parking program for outpatient clinic visits and the Ambulatory Surgery Center. Complimentary parking will be eliminated, effective Monday, March 16 … the cost of the program has increased significantly in recent years—currently about $1.2 million annually”

This message was “…sent on behalf of Jean Robillard, UI Vice President for Medical Affairs; Ken Kates, Associate Vice President, UI Health Care, and CEO, UI Hospitals and Clinics, and Dean Paul Rothman, UI Carver College of Medicine.”

Here’s a modest proposal. According to public records, Jean Robillard makes $469,046 a year, Ken Kates makes $540,000, and Paul Rothman makes $486,700. Their combined salaries is $1,495,746. In addition to those three, I count another 22 making in excess of $250,000 a year at the University, most of them in the College of Medicine.

Why don’t they kick some money back to help hospital patients? Many patients are in financial trouble because of their hospital bills, and even those who are not don’t deserve to be jammed for another $10 a day.

Maybe I’m just a cynical bastard, but when I walk around the hospital I sure see a lot of people in expensive suits who contribute nothing to patient care. They spend their times hiring and firing, going to meetings with catered lunches, sending out ridiculous condescending memos to the people who actually help sick people, and making decisions like this one. What’s wrong with this picture?