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Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking



How far may employers intrude into the lives of workers in the name of lower healthcare costs and higher productivity?  For the chief of a 13,000-employee health system, the clear point of demarcation is tobacco use.



31 comments on "Ochsner CEO Rails Against Smoking"
wooli (5/23/2012 at 9:20 PM)

"'the poorer...the blacker''how condesending.Ihear the desancendents of the founders at Ochsner think he is a charlentin.
weelo (5/23/2012 at 6:14 PM)

How Condesending.
Poor Mentally Ill smoker (5/22/2012 at 11:01 PM)

Most say that they cant beleive he said this . OH YES HE DID GO THERE. Who is filing the calss action Law suit on behalf of the poor, Black , And mentally ill ,which will be alot of poor black mentally challenged people cause thats going to hurt there pockets more than anything .Him stepping down wasnt from his copmments its been in the works for 18 months come on people do you beleive that horse manure. He thoughtit and said it so that must be his feelings that he says are statistics ,I heard on local tv an news commentator read the study that Quinlan said the information was from and it wasnt said like Quinlan said it !!!!!!!!!.
Anonymous Employee (5/22/2012 at 8:00 PM)

I've long worked for Ochsner, and they rule employees with fear. It's always been a "good ole boys" club of White, Jewish men who have a mold that only few can fit in. Yes, there are Indians here and there, or African Americans here and there, but the real positions of power will never go to same - UNLESS this person kisses the man's butt. I looked it up...Blacks are #1, WHITES are #2, and mental/socioeconomic groups have LITTLE to do with it. Worldwide, it's WHITES. He didn't mis-speak...he had time to dictate, have it typed, read it and sign it. He's a racist...and so is Ochsner. I have been a victim of it as so many others have. Just afraid of losing our jobs, and continue doing it "the Ochsner way..." Oh, and at Ochsner, more whites smoke by a 10 fold margin over the ....BLACKER folks. Sheesh
16789229 (5/22/2012 at 5:40 PM)

Quinlan is factually incorrect on Black smoking. Nearly all reports show that the smoking rates for whites and Blacks are either comparable or the black smoking rate is lower than the white smoking rate. He also fails to note that the Tobacco industry has been accused of enticing minorities to smoke via various ad campaigns and other inducements. Many of there promotions would not be tolerated if aimed at more affluent or educated population. In subsequent conversations, Quinlan felt that people were "sensitive". The problem was he was inaccurate and insensitive. His statement reflected a bias against individuals he considered an "underclass". Choice of words and sensitivity is required when you must deliver harsh truths. What was needed in this case was fact checking. Some would consider his comments racist, I side merely with those who felt that the comments were simply uninformed and ignorant. Smoking is a problem for minority and poor communities, but stigmatization of the victims is not helpful.
16788044 (5/22/2012 at 11:19 AM)

He clearly stating exactly how he feels about the " invisible underclass." or the poor people. He stated the wealthy people who he associates with does not smoke. He might be right, they probably do something worse than smoking.
Kim (5/21/2012 at 7:56 PM)

Ignorance at it's highest level. The blacker you are? Seriously?
a sister (5/17/2012 at 1:49 PM)

I'm not angry about what was said in the article. He just confirmed what I have known all along. If he feels this way, in my book all the higher ups feel this way. The old saying goes birds of a feather...........
Marie (5/15/2012 at 9:01 PM)

Maybe if he would have explained to the audience how blackness is determined he might still have a job. Of course there's a blood test that distinguishes an individual's level of blackness right.
Southis4idiots (5/15/2012 at 6:59 PM)

I can not believe in 2011 someone working for a well known private health orginization (CEO in fact) in the south can say "the blacker you are the more you smoke"! How more racist can you be? Second, (idiot) there are many more poor, underclass, white people in Louisiana and the nation. African Americans only account for 13%. If you are black and work for Ochsner a get services from Ochsner I will pray hard for you.
Ochsner Employee (5/14/2012 at 5:28 PM)

While I understand the point he was TRYING to make, he did a poor job at it! I can only hope that our patients know this is not the opinion of all of us employed with Ochsner, only a small minded, ignorant man. Who has since stepped down from his C.E.O. position. Calling smokers "blacker, invisible, those with mental illnesses, etc.." is just trashy in my book. Also, making it seem that he directly pays my bills...please! Those patients you are talking down about are the reason any of us have a job! Also, we are all taught our mission is "serve, heal, lead, educate and innovate...patients come first." Someone in his position should remember that his opinion should not be voiced if it targets anyone in a negative way. We are here to help our patients, regardless of poor choices in their lives, and offer the best care and support during a time of need.
Ochsner Employee (5/14/2012 at 1:36 PM)

The emphasis of the article should have remained focused on the fact that it is unfair that health care costs for smokers have elevated costs for non-smokers. The clear and present use of the term "blacker" has no relevant link to the topic. It is very upsetting and disheartening to me as an African American employee to have read that statement. BTW..I do not smoke. And if the statement was indeed related to actual statistical data, there should be a link referenced somewhere within the article.
16788044 (5/14/2012 at 1:19 PM)

Probably an unfortunate choice of words but statistically spot on true.
16788044 (5/14/2012 at 12:21 PM)

I think that saying that most smokers are black is just stereo-typing people. There are lost of people who smoke including those "upper class". We need to be careful when targeting onoe class of people and make sure that we have all our facts in line with what we are saying. I too am an Ochsner employee, I'm black and more that likely underpaid yet I do not smoke nor drink, nor do I have mental problems. The only problem I have is when people clump me in with everybody else because of my color, I'd like to be judged as a unique individual as I know I am.
Employee-Anonymous (5/13/2012 at 12:53 AM)

I do not want to pay for someone else to be treated for known effects from smoking. Treatment for problems from smoking should come from the smokers pocket, not directly or indirectly from mine. Quinlan's message is not of rascism or class distinction, if thats all you see then you missed the point.
Wayne M. LeBlanc (5/11/2012 at 5:00 PM)

Why does Hammond Louisiana citizens smoke more than any other area of Louisana....depression? Who wants to live in Hammond. Seriously, folks make all kind of excuses for addictive behavior and nicotine is molecularly addictive. Big Tobacco counts on that fact everyday.
Black Female (5/11/2012 at 4:49 PM)

I'm an ochsner empolyee(African American)the resaon were poor is because Ochsner isn' t paying us no MONEY
The Truth Hurts (5/11/2012 at 4:04 PM)

Chill out people. These are just facts. "...in fact studies clearly show that the poorer you are the more you smoke. The blacker you are the more you smoke. The more mental illness you have the more you really smoke." The only thing Quinlan left out during his rant was the fact that fat people have more heart attacks than skinny people. But don't despair because he is also combating the obesity epidemic. He removed the delicious fresh baked[INVALID]s and the slurpee machine from the cafeteria this past year, literally. (I work at Ochsner) I miss those[INVALID]s!
PJ (5/11/2012 at 1:02 PM)

Dr. Quinlan made no comments that can realistically be considered as racist. He simply referred to statistical facts, just as if he had said that blacks are more likely to have sickle cell disease. He drew no cause and effect conclusions; he merely stated a quantifiable fact. The tobacco free policy at Ochsner not only provides financial incentives for those who commit to being tobacco free, it provides smoking cessation programs and support without cost to the employee. The same goes for numerous other programs aimed at improving health. I am a proud employee of Ochsner Health System and applaud that we stress healthiness. To do anything less would be hypocritical.
Brent (5/11/2012 at 12:16 PM)

Ochsner CEO one racist bigot!!Ochsner now wants to control their employees lives and make them more miserable than they are-Employees and people are just human commodities-Shame on Ochsner's racist ways[INVALID]-The CEO should be fired immediately[INVALID]-I will never go to another Ochsner facility[INVALID][INVALID]welcome back University Hospital!
Demetria (5/11/2012 at 12:12 PM)

I think the Ochsner Hospital and its CEO, CEEO etc. are the most racist and hippocritical in the world. Ochsner is known for treating people like cattle-The CEO should be fired on the spot-I am offended to the point that I never will "darken" ochsner's doorway again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lori (5/8/2012 at 10:07 PM)

I think it's a thoughtless point of view about smoking, coming from the CEO of Ochsner. My point of view (you should be fired), its remarks like this that keeps ethnic going in American. Do you really have to say? "The Blacker you are the more you smoke", Well my point of view is "The Whiter you are finish the statement"......... enough said.
ochsner employee (5/4/2012 at 5:22 AM)

finally someone stands up to protect their workers.i think ochsner did the right thing and make their hospitals nonsmoking. how many of you guy have that coworker that goes smoking, nowhere to to be found and their patients are coding/in distress? in addition, theres never just two 10 mins smoke breaks, there is way more. then, you are faced with a situation in which you dont want to create "drama" and tells them they need to get to work because there is the "coworker snitch code." another thing, i hate to see a smoker patient who can not breathe but goes out smoking only to call for help.the smoke smell they carry back can set off other patient's asthma if not themselves.
16788044 (5/3/2012 at 9:24 AM)

I refuse to get any type of service from ochsner ever again who knew the ceo was racist ive been a patient for more than 15years. i will make sure i email this article to every one that i know.
Ochsner Employee (4/28/2012 at 7:00 PM)

This Article may have had a few truths to it but Patrick Quinlan's statements were very ignorant and insulting. "what you do is directly paid for by me." REALLY? "The blacker you are the more you smoke?" African Americans may have high rate of our population that smokes but this statistic could have been worded a WHOLE lot better.
16788044 (4/18/2012 at 5:36 PM)

IT IS REALLY A SAD SITUATION WHEN THE HEAD OF A LARGE HOSPITAL USE STEREO TYPE STATS TO INCOURAGE EMPLOYEES NOT TO SMOKE. I AM BLACK (NONSMOKER)AND WORK FOR OCHSNER AND AM VERY OFFENDED BY DR QUINLAN'S REMARKS REGARDING SMOKING. I KNOW QUITE A FEW PEOPLE WHO ARE EDUCATED AND SMOKE. HE SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO HIS STAFF AFTER ALL WE ARE PART OF THE REASON FOR OCHSNER'S SUCCESS
16788044 (4/10/2012 at 4:35 PM)

Nicotine is a dangerous drug and if drug testing is part of an Ochsner employee's condition of employment, then I applaud Ochsner's effort to screen for it. As far as I know there is no way to test for drugs like twinkies and fried food but hopefully there will be one day. This great country is based on freedom of choice but educated people also understand that choices have consequences associated with them-in this case unemployment.
R Daniel King (4/10/2012 at 3:46 PM)

Want to improve employee health? Make sure you have managers that exhibit robust leadership skills. A study of 3,100 men over a ten year period determined that individuals under a manager for five years that is inconsiderate, opaque, uncommunicative, and a poor advocate were about 60% more likely to suffer a heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac conditions. Employees under a manager who was considerate, transparent, communicative, and a great advocate had 40% LESS chance of these problem. Poor leadership trumped work load and whether the employee smoked, exercised or had a weight problem. We know health care's quality chasm is rooted in its leadership chasm where communication-breakdown is at epidemic levels, transparency is an orphan, being considerate is on a case by case basis and being a great advocate of other's work is a selective process if it exist at all. Could all this be why health care spending is 10% higher for hospital employees than it is for the general employee population? An effective wellness program in a hospital starts with evaluating which managers inspire their employees to excellence and who demoralizes them to mediocrity starting with senior leadership.
Joan (4/10/2012 at 3:23 PM)

"The blacker you are the more you smoke." Really...? And BTW, the expression is "cause and effect", not "cause in effect."
jennifer.nelson (4/10/2012 at 12:00 PM)

Your article indicates that non-smokers eventually end up paying for the poor choices of smokers, which is true. This is also true of any personal choices that may lead to serious illnesses or diseases - overeating/obesity which leads to high blood pressure & diabetes, sharing needles/drug addiction/sexual promiscuity/homosexuality which leads to STD including AIDS, choosing to ride a motorcycle w/o a helmet and being on life support after an accident and the list goes on. Where do the paying people draw the line on the personal choices of others that actually affect the pocketbooks of their neighbors?
pfft (4/9/2012 at 3:34 PM)

I'm sorry but if you eat too many Twinkies and become obese and diabetic and need your foot amputated, I share in that cost the same as you share the cost of a smoker's illnesses.