'Burn in hell,' Cone Health manager tells health plan via email

An administrator from Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health made headlines after firing off an email to the board of the N.C. State Health Plan that read, "Burn in hell, you sorry SOBs," according to multiple local news sources.   

Cone Health Assistant Director of Finance Frank Kauder sent the email July 1 — the same day Cone Health staff learned the system would not join the State Health Plan in 2020 due to a new reimbursement formula, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. It was sent to State Treasurer Dale Folwell and other members of the health plan board.

The new formula will cap provider payments at 160 percent of the Medicare rate for inpatient care and 230 percent of the Medicare rate for outpatient services, according to the report. Mr. Kauder called this plan "insane" and said it "would financially destroy every hospital in this state," according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

In the memo announcing the change, Cone Health CEO Terry Akin urged staff to contact legislators to advocate for hospitals' position on the issue, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. However, the system told the Journal in a statement regarding Mr. Kauder's email, "This is a personal opinion and Cone Health disagrees with the content and tone of the email."

Mr. Kauder told local NBC affiliate WXII in a statement, "I was speaking my own political opinions in that email, independent of my role at Cone Health, where I work as a front-line manager, not a high-ranking executive. I was simply expressing my free speech rights."


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