Foundation medicine layoffs

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Foundation Medicine

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Foundation Medicine, Inc. Employee Reviews

Your success depends on who you know!

Billing (Former Employee) - Cambridge, MA - April 19, 2019

It’s all who you know at this company! No matter how much you succeed at work, you will be overlooked time and time again because promotions are given to management close friends. Rules are given but not followed by friends of the managers. So if you want to be given more work then possible to accomplish and get no recognition then this is the job for you!

They also just completely changed their lunch policy now you have to work 8 and a half hours and you must take an unpaid 30-min lunch break. Good luck trying to eat lunch in 30-mins in Cambridge. Oh and try not to get sick because fmi only gives 5-sick days per year, and work from home is not allowed unless you are salary, they treat hourly employees like contract and you are not valued at all!

If you are salary and have friends in leadership even with no skills and no education and a horrible personality you will get very far, but if not than good luck!


Health/dental benefits, rewarding work


Nepotism, only give 5-days sick time, can’t work remote, manager complains about anytime needed for overtime but approves it for employees that she likes

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US for-profit healthcare sector cuts thousands of jobs as pandemic rages

Maureen Zeman was a registered nurse for 29 years at a hospital in San Jose, California, before she was laid off with dozens of other nurses – amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many states across the US have stopped elective medical procedures as part of emergency shutdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, hospitals and medical clinics are implementing layoffs, furloughs and cuts to salaries and work schedules in response to declines in revenue.

The for-profit company that owns the hospital where Zeman worked decided to shut down the maternal delivery department at the end of March. It put Zeman and many others out of a job, and left patients with far fewer options.

“They say it’s not related to Covid-19, but it’s a huge disservice to the women of the east side of San Jose. Doing this during a pandemic is terrible,” said Zeman. “They said it wasn’t financially stable to keep the unit open, and so they’re closing. Our big concern is we’re a trauma center and there are no hospitals in this area that can take care of women and children’s services.”

Healthcare is a trillion-dollar industry in the US, where hospitals and clinics are overwhelmingly run as businesses, and patients are the core of their revenue cycle. Americans are expected to have means to pay for their treatment, usually through expensive insurance linked to their jobs, though about 28 million people were uninsured in 2018, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

“If you run healthcare as a business, if someone isn’t profitable for you, you lay [people] off. And that’s what we’re seeing,” said Dr David Himmelstein, distinguished professor of public health at City University of New York’s Hunter College and a lecturer in medicine at Harvard medical school. “The hospitals – exactly during a time of greatest need – are saying they don’t need these people.

“We have a healthcare system where you excel in normal times by stressing what’s needed the least, and then when we have an emergency and the need is greatest, you’re in financial trouble because you’re geared to do what’s profitable.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43,000 healthcare jobs were lost in March 2020, and the job losses in healthcare have increased as shutdowns persist through the pandemic. The HealthLandscape and American Academy of Family Physicians issued a report estimating by June 2020, 60,000 family medical practices will close or scale back, affecting 800,000 workers.

Corey Mertz, a registered nurse for nearly 21 years at a for-profit hospital in McMinnville, Oregon, saw his work schedule go from full-time – 32 to 40 hours a week – to less than 12 hours a week.

He said: “For the last two to three weeks, we’ve cancelled all of our elective surgeries, most of our outpatient processes, and this has had a gigantic impact on our hospital.”

Mertz filed for unemployment benefits last week, but had not received benefits or been able to get in contact with the state unemployment agency. Mertz’s hospital initially started training nurses to help departments with anticipated surges in coronavirus patients, but the training was stopped because the hospital had not seen a significant influx of cases severe enough to be admitted.

“We all have a lot of uncertainty and angst about how long this will go on,” Mertz added.

The cuts and layoffs facing healthcare workers began as many areas of the US experienced surges in coronavirus patients, while hospitals struggle with shortages in supplies and protective equipment for workers.

Elizabeth, a medical assistant at a hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts, who asked not to use her last name for fear of losing her job, was furloughed in late March 2020, but was still waiting to receive information from human resources last week on how to maintain benefits and what to expect through the furlough process.

“We have no clue [about] the headaches we’re getting into. This has never happened. I’ve been in the medical field for 21 years,” she said. “They want us to use our paid time off to cover our health insurance benefits, but if you’re collecting unemployment they’ll think you’re taking a paycheck, so that is going to interfere with unemployment and the unemployment benefits are already minimal. It’s not even half of our check.”

Fairmont regional medical center, the only hospital in Marion county, West Virginia, closed down at the end of March. A few days after the closure, West Virginia’s first coronavirus-related death occurred there.

“I think not having a hospital in this community, it means death for a lot of people,” said Patty Snyder, president of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 550 which represented 120 employees at the hospital. Alecto Healthcare Services, which operated Fairmont, did not respond to a request for comment.

Snyder, one of hundreds of employees laid off due to the closure, worked as a cashier at the hospital for nearly 30 years. “This is going to have a catastrophic effect on this community. In the middle of this pandemic, we don’t have time to wait 20 to 30 minutes for an ambulance, and [then] drive 20 to 30 minutes in either direction to a hospital.”

Alex Hlumyk, a certified medical assistant in Hubbard, Ohio, began his job at a physicians’ practice in a healthcare system owned by a private equity firm eight months ago, but was recently laid off after he was told there was not enough money to keep him on the payroll.

Before being laid off, Hlumyk was screening patients for coronavirus and was frustrated he was not offered any guidance on how to continue helping on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“I have the skills to help people during this pandemic and right now I can’t,” said Hlumyk. He filed for unemployment the day he was laid off, but was still awaiting benefit payments to begin, while worrying about being able to pay rent and payments on his car.

“These furloughs make the case that now more than ever our healthcare system should not be for-profit. We are among the most vital workers in the country right now, and there should be no reason that some people on Wall Street should determine the worth of our jobs when thousands upon thousands of lives are at risk.”


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Foundation Medicine: Transforming Cancer Care

Caris Life Sciences Lays Off Estimated 20 Percent of Staff

By Paul Goldberg

Caris Life Sciences Inc. last week reduced its workforce by 50 people—about 20 percent, sources said.

While a 50-person reduction in force is small by pharma industry standards, the development could be significant because Caris is a key player in the emerging market for molecular therapies.

Company officials characterized the layoff as an effort to manage personnel expenses.

“The company’s revenue and case volume has grown by over 50 percent so far this year,” Caris officials said in a statement to The Cancer Letter. “Evaluating and maintaining the appropriate staffing levels is a constant effort for the company as we keep our offering on the cutting-edge. Of course, we will continue to monitor this to ensure that we provide the highest quality and most advanced molecular profiling service available, which our customers have come to expect and which their cancer patients deserve.”

The privately held company markets the Caris Molecular Intelligence assays, which are widely used by oncologists, primarily outside of academic medicine.

Caris is not involved in the NCI trials of molecularly guided therapies.

The layoff affected the evidence review, IT, and quality assurance staff as well as administrative and facilities employees, sources close to the situation said to The Cancer Letter. The company’s lab staff and the sales force have been left largely unaffected.

As is always the case when pharma and biotech companies reduce staff, bitter anonymous comments appeared on the CafePharma website.

Caris assays use IHC, FISH/CISH, PCR, and next-generation sequencing. In the past, Caris declined to disclose the prices of its services (The Cancer Letter, Aug. 8).

On its website, Caris says that its assays were used in making treatment decisions for as many as 60,000 people in 59 countries since 2006.

“[Caris Molecular Intelligence] can provide up to 51 potentially relevant FDA-approved drug associations,” David Halbert, Caris’s top executive, wrote in a recent letter to the Boston Business Journal, claiming that it’s “the only profiling service offering a comprehensive analysis of all relevant drug associations currently supported by strong medical evidence.

“By comparison, [the Foundation Medicine Inc.] test can make no more than 19 drug associations,” he wrote.

The reference to “potentially relevant FDA-approved drug associations” may be confusing even to insiders. The agency approves drugs, not associations between targets and biomarkers. In some cases, FDA approves drugs and biomarker assays known as companion diagnostics, where the testing and treatment based on this testing shows a favorable outcome.

In a recent interview with The Cancer Letter, Daniel Hayes, a breast cancer expert at the University of Michigan, said Caris may have “over-interpreted the test they provide that might suggest that a drug won’t work” (The Cancer Letter, Aug. 8).

Hayes and other experts say that they fear that in some cases the findings on such tests may prompt doctors to rely less on evidence-based guidelines and instead base treatment decisions on findings of molecular tests and interpretations that are far from definitive.

“On their website they say they’ve done 60,000 cases,” Hayes, the university’s Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research and a member of a recent Institute of Medicine committee that issueda report on omics, said in his recent interview with The Cancer Letter. “That’s a lot of patients, and I am not sure they were treated properly, based on results that I am not sure we can trust.”

There is no question that big changes are brewing in the market for molecular tests.

• FDA is phasing in regulation of so-called “laboratory-developed tests,” a category that includes the Caris product, starting with assays that may lead patients to select one treatment option over others (The Cancer Letter,Aug. 1).

• Tests that provide genomic information lie at the foundation of the new generation of NCI-sponsored trials (The Cancer Letter,June 20).

• Pharma companies, as they develop drugs intended to target specific markers, have been pressing FDA to regulate laboratory-developed tests. As it stands, the many assays currently utilized in clinical practice don’t have to demonstrate safety and efficacy and are largely billed in such a way that Medicare and private insurers cannot identify what is being tested and why.

• Payment policy for tests is also in flux. Medicare and private insurers have no way to distinguish the majority of genomic tests from each other and no way to decide whether these tests are medically necessary, insiders say.

A few tests—for example, Oncotype DX—have specific codes, but the majority are lumped together in two classifications: “Tier 2 Molecular Pathology Procedures” (CPT codes 81400-81479) and “Multi-Analyte Assays with Algorithmic Analysis” (CPT codes 81500-81599).

The codes tell payers what the laboratory did, without saying what the test is for. Medicare is trying to unblind this processthrough a program called MolDX.

Caris is also facing a lawsuit filed by two former employees, who allege that their former employer violated the federal anti-kickback statute by routinely waiving some of its fees to induce referrals to federal healthcare programs.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, also alleges that over one very hot summer, Caris ran tests on hematology specimens that were compromised by heat. If this is correct, the results of these tests would have been uninformative and treatment choices based on such findings questionable.

Caris’s court filings deny all allegations, and in a statement to The Cancer Letter, company officials described the action as a nuisance lawsuit.

Scientific justification for the use of the Caris Molecular Intelligence tests is based on a single-arm study conducted in 66 patients with solid tumors who had failed two prior therapies. The study used a novel metric: the patients’ progression-free survival on therapies chosen by the test was compared to PFS reported on their previous progression.

The findings were presented by the researcher Daniel Von Hoffat the plenary sessionof the 2009 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research andpublished in the Journal of Clinical Oncologythe following year. “In 27 percent of patients, the molecular profiling approach resulted in a longer PFS on an MP-suggested regimen than on the regimen on which the patient had just experienced progression,” the paper concluded.

Von Hoff is identified as executive director of Caris Life Sciences Clinical Researchon the company’s website. He is also the physician in chief and director of translational research at TGen in Phoenix, Ariz.; the chief scientific officer for US Oncology and for Scottsdale Healthcare’s Clinical Research Institute; and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona.

Critiquing the Von Hoff et al. paper in a separate JCO article, James Doroshow, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis,wrote that the findings are inconclusive in part because it’s unlikely that the patients’ PFS on previous recurrence could have be measured in a uniform fashion.

A randomized study would be required to confirm the positive results, Doroshow wrote.

Doroshow’s division at NCI has reorganized the institute’s clinical trials infrastructure to focus on studies of interventions based on biomarker data (The Cancer Letter,June 20; June 6;May 16;May 2;April 11;April 4).


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More than a year into a deadly pandemic that has pushed health care workers to the brink, Kaiser Permanente announced last week it was laying off more than 200 workers. Earlier this year, Sutter Health made similar reductions.

The job cuts — which come just as doctors, nurses and other employees who help keep hospitals and clinics running are finally allowing themselves to feel hopeful the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is in the past — have prompted backlash from unions and others. But COVID-19 also has dealt a financial blow to many health care providers, raising the question of whether more layoffs are on the horizon.

“I certainly believe so,” said William Padula, a professor of pharmaceutical and health economics at the University of Southern California.

“Hospitals never operate on a very large margin,” Padula said. “If their revenue drops 20 or 30%, as it could have this past year, then obviously they need to cut costs to maintain an operating margin that keeps them able to serve patients in general.”

Kaiser’s net income dropped in 2020 to around $6.4 billion from about $7.4 billion the previous year, and its operating margin fell from 3.2% to 2.5%. Sutter recorded a $321 million operating loss in 2020 and a negative 2.4% operating margin. In a March statement posted along with the financial details, Sutter said the pandemic has “exacerbated” existing challenges such as high wages, regulatory requirements, facility upgrades and investments in technology. Both companies say they scrapped mostly non-clinical positions during their recent layoffs.

“Sutter’s costs exceeded revenue, and such a trajectory seems unsustainable, particularly as both COVID and the health care industry’s structural challenges will remain for the foreseeable future,” the Sacramento-based system said in its statement. “As such, Sutter has begun a sweeping review of its operations and finances. This includes restructuring and closing some programs and services that are seeing fewer patients and redeploying staff to busier parts of its integrated network.”

Kaiser said in a statement that the layoffs are a result of changes to internal operations.

“We consistently look for better ways to achieve operational efficiency, while providing high-quality care and service,” the company said in a statement, adding that it is committed to trying to transition affected employees into other positions within Kaiser.

Health care providers point to a decline in lucrative elective procedures and screenings during the pandemic as one factor driving the drop in revenues and the cuts. Another is the rise of telemedicine, which existed pre-pandemic but skyrocketed last year with social distancing measures and other restrictions in place. The visits are more efficient and require less staff because workers don’t have to greet patients or clean exam rooms between visits.

Padula doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

“Telehealth has completely reinvented our health system overnight,” he said. “Administrative overhead is one of the greatest sources of waste in health care spending.”

Video visits also aren’t generally reimbursable at the same level as in-person visits, said R. Adams Dudley, a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota who studies health care performance and costs and worked until recently at UCSF. So even as they help providers save on staffing costs, they don’t always bring in as much money as regular office visits.

But not every patient wants to do a virtual visit, and the practice hasn’t been widespread enough for long enough to know for sure that patients can receive the same level of care through a screen. Still, Padula thinks the shift to telemedicine is one piece of a much-needed broader overhaul of health care in general.

“Patients are suffering because we failed to invest in a strong public health infrastructure, and that’s what we see out of COVID-19,” he said. “Obviously, we need to rethink the entire structure of our health care system.”

A recent report prepared for the California Hospital Association suggests hospitals across the state will see losses this year of between $600 million and $2 billion due to COVID-19.

“You can’t just throw an MRI machine out the window and save costs,” Padula said, adding that labor costs “are the first place to go.”

Adams Dudley isn’t convinced the pandemic will set off a wave of permanent cuts, however.

If enough people get COVID-19 vaccines and society returns to some semblance of normal, he said, “it could end up looking like it’s just a blip. … I don’t think we really know.”

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The timing of the job cutsseems particularly cruel to workers, some of whom are just scraping by, and to people like Adams Dudley, who called them “a little harsh.”

“We are still crawling out of the pandemic. We’ve dealt with a year of hell,” said Georgette Bradford, a Kaiser Sacramento ultrasound technologist who is not set to lose her job but has colleagues whose positions are being eliminated. “We’ve been fighting for over a year just to keep ourselves and our patients safe. We’ve been dealing with loved ones and co-workers passing away.”

“Why is Kaiser doing this to the people they called health care heroes? They’ve worked for over a year through this grueling pandemic and now they’re losing their jobs,” Ethan Ruskin, a health educator at Kaiser Permanente San Jose, said in a statement this week from the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions blasting the move. “I know Kaiser executives with their million-dollar salaries don’t have to worry about putting food on the table for their families or paying rent, but my co-workers and I worry about these things every day. Shame on them for doing this to the healthcare workers who were on the frontlines of this pandemic.”


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