Harold Mauer May Be “Making it Rain” for UNMC but He’s Also Making Abraham Lincoln Weep in his Grave

September 17, 2012


WASHINGTON, D.C.  – (exclusive) by Ivy Harper

UNMC and Dr. Harold Mauer – hit by bad press from Nebraska Watchdog, and the Omaha World-Herald – turned to the Lincoln Journal Star Sunday for a public relations push-back.

Don Walton’s feature on Mauer brimmed with revealing quotes that illustrate Mauer’s unfamiliarity with the real world. He doesn’t live in an Ivory Tower; he resides in a Gilded Platinum Tower. Okay, I’ll grant that Mauer knows medicine and money but he missed the mark by a long shot with his quote about Mercedes.

Mauer told Walton, “Give me a break…if Mercedes were to come in here, they’d be all over the company.”

Right. Because Mercedes would provide jobs to working and middle class Nebraskans who are desperate for manufacturing jobs. Good, solid, jobs from which breadwinners could feed a family. How many high-paying UNMC jobs go to Nebraskans? The great majority of UNMC’s highly specialized recruits/employees are from out-of-state and the country. Sure, some stay and become Nebraskans and all contribute to Omaha and the state but you cannot compare Mercedes to UNMC.

Well, they are both industries but one provides a product; the other one needs sick people to keep going. And make profits.

See, I say forget the Cancer Center and spend $400 million dollars on a cradle to the grave Education Campaign that works – daily –  with Nebraskans on greatly reducing their consumption of red meat, alcohol, aspertame, high-fructose corn syrup, soda, and processed foods; if that happened, there’d be a heckuva lot less cancer.

Hmmmm. But who would fill those 200 beds? Oh, Lord, not some Mercedes Benz, that’s for sure.

What I think is a stitch is how freaked out UNMC gets when their press is not perfect.

You know that bumper sticker: “Well-behaved women don’t make History.”

Hey, it applies to men, too. No doubt it’s difficult to raise $400 million bucks and keep everyone happy in the process but I’ve heard through the UNMC grapevine that the Good Doctor can be downright ghoulish in going after the green as in, “We’ve got to get him before he dies.” Then again, he talked to Don about tombstones so maybe that’s just Mauer’s thing. (We know he’s got a thing about cars: his friends all drive Porsches, he must make amends.)

I was at the NU Regents meeting a couple of years ago when the NU Regents approved Mauer’s plan to raise nursing tuition by 90 per cent. Seriously, that’s not a typo. By 90 per cent. And the nation needs nurses badly; ergo, I called that Mauer’s class gouging. Same difference as hiking up gas prices when the need is greatest.

I also spoke at the NU Regents meeting where a Durham relative – a daughter, I believe – spoke in favor of embryonic stem cell research – and let’s just say she owned the place. Literally. I mean the meeting was a farce because the question had been decided earlier behind closed doors but they all performed their parts like dutiful Method actors.

Oh, now for my one personal Dr. Hal Mauer anecdote. A little back story: I’ve never had a single conversation with Dr. Harold Mauer. Not so much as a ‘hi’ at a cocktail party. Never a word between us. None. However, he knows me. I guess.

This Mauer memory is burned into my brain. It was the same NU Regents meeting where Julie Schmit-Albin and Ms. Durham spoke in a battle of the top dogs; I was the under-dog.

Afterwards, I introduced myself to a UNO Vice-Chancellor who I think took Terry Hynes’ place as an aide to UNO Chancellor John Christensen.

This new Vice-Chancellor was tall and friendly but as we were conversing, I saw that he was looking quizzically at someone behind me and that whatever was going on was distracting him.

So, I turned around quickly and – swear to God – I saw Chancellor Mauer making motions like a mean-girl middle schooler.

He was wildly waving his hands just inches from my back and then, the coup de grace: I saw him make that universal sign with one’s right hand, bent at the knuckles, slicing swiftly across the neck as if to say, “Stop.” In the name of…well, it was certainly wasn’t love.

Suddenly, it struck me. An Omaha Chancellor had just directed a UNO Vice-Chancellor to stop talking to me. And again, Mauer did it in the exact – I kid you not – same way that high school girls mock competitors behind their back.

Wow. I was stunned since Mauer was being flat-out rude. Hello. The last I checked this was America and if a handsome UNO Vice-Chancellor wanted to have a conversation with a fourth-generation Nebraskan, shouldn’t they be allowed to do so without a  Chancellor – who gets a boatload of federal funding –  commanding him to cut off communication.

But as JJ warned us, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

Anyhoo, the UNO Vice-Chancellor – who’s also I’m pretty sure long gone from UNO – gave me a distinct, “I’m really sorry you had to see that display of boorish behavior but hey, he is a Chancellor so what’s a Vice-Chancellor to do. I was merely trying to humor him given that he put me in a difficult position; trying to talk with you while he’s giving me orders behind your back.”

I laughed about it later because I realized that while NU’s tried their hardest to marginalize me, my message’s getting through or Mauer wouldn’t have bothered trying to censor NU administrators. I can only conclude that Mauer thinks I’m some kind of anti-NU svengali who – in the course of a casual conversation – might make converts to my case even among those whose paychecks are signed, “The University of Nebraska.”

Either that or he’s a control freak.

Obviously, Mauer knew that on the Lincoln Journal Star Comments section, I’d criticized him for his Corporate Chancellor-hood lifestyle; his lavish salary, his $97,000 Porsche Cayenne SUV, housing, food, expense accounts, maid, lawn, snow removal, his two Omaha country club memberships all on the taxpayer dime while his medical students are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in predatory student loan debt which makes them a) want to specialize rather than be gp’s; and b) makes them likely not to return to rural Nebraska because they need urban venues where patient volume is high so that they can pay off their predatory medical student loan debt.

Meanwhile, Mauer and his top titans at UNMC – a private medical center, mind you, that gets state and federal funds – become uber-wealthy.

Beware the “University-Financial Complex.” S’what I’m talking about, my Friends.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: