This old entry on the activities of Williams trustee Toby Cosgrove ’62 gets a fair number of hits. Those hits lead, on occasion, to e-mails like the one that I have reprinted below. Take it for what it is worth. I am not sure if these sorts of comments belong on EphBlog.

I want to comment on your excellent piece “Conflicted Cosgrove ’62” which I enjoyed reading every word of. I don’t really see him as a doctor but rather as a businessman. Anyway, I work in the Cleveland Clinic system and wish my name be kept confidential, for obvious reasons. Here is an excerpt from the recent newsletter that was distributed at my workplace and contains some new implementations from Dr. C. I quote:

Please note that the Fair Labor Standards Act does not mandate that an employer provide meal periods or breaks of any duration whether paid or unpaid. Paid breaks are scheduled . . . at the discretion of your supervisor and are not “guaranteed”.

Furthermore, it says in bold print,

Since breaks are paid work time and may need to be interrupted . . . employees may not leave the hospital campus/work location during breaks for any reason, including smoking. Also, since smoking in cars parked on campus is also prohibited, using breaks to sit in your car to smoke is also prohibited. If you want to use meal periods to leave the campus to smoke or attend to personal business, you need to obtain approval from your supervisor . . . and ensure that you return in a timely manner.

This outlines several issues. We feel that Dr. C went a bit overboard with all this. But the question remains, can he legally take our breaks away? Does he let us have our breaks out of pure generosity? I don’t think so. Furthermore, if the staffing is adequate, someone always could cover for the other who’s taking a break. Aahh… staffing issue. Dr C has changed the internal ratio of caregivers per patient by — you guessed it — lowering the amount of caregivers. You see, contrary to the popular belief, hospital business is not about patient care. It’s all about budget and cost cutting. The issue of staffing is the one most frequently ignored by all interested parties. This include state agencies. JCAHO, on their last visit, hasn’t noticed it just as well; when they asked managers questions, the answer was “built in” in the above
questions, so they knew exactly what answer JCAHO was looking for. This is not a joke.

Back to the lunch breaks. Dr C emphasizes that “if you use meal periods to attend to personal business . . . ensure that you return in a timely manner.” Why? If we return late, it’s a tardy and is covered in the policy. It makes one feel that we’re being treated as children. Let alone his non-smoking policy. I think that the way “mo-smoking” policy was originated, was that Dr C wanted his employees to spend more time on the floor; and then he came up with this brilliant idea of “Smash the Ash”, to make him look good, caring and such. I think this is a prelude to his sweat shop philosophy. Work til you drop, no breaks. Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you. It could make sense to ban smoking inside the building, but whose business is it what we are doing while taking a break? This was done with a complete disregard to turn around issue and illustrates Dr C’s sort of a paternal attitude.

You can tell that he is used gettting his way. I bet he takes breaks at will. And no telling how many. BTW, he lives in a prestigious area of Hunting Valley, Ohio. I bet his property taxes alone are paid by his Clev Clinic salary. So no wonder he needs a part time business like the one described in your article. Especially considering having your own wife as an attorney. LOL

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