Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Floyd County Council approves $150-300-eleventy million hospital privatization windfall. No wonder there are so many county government candidates.

"In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”
― Czesław Miłosz

First, something we'd been told was inevitable -- which naturally should make us suspicious. Chris Morris (Picayune de la Jeffersonvillia) has the scoop, with expanded story to come:

Floyd council agrees to Baptist Health's $150M offer for Floyd Memorial Hospital

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Council on Tuesday evening unanimously voted for a nonbinding agreement to sell Floyd Memorial Hospital to Baptist Health Systems for $150 million.

Louisville-based Baptist's offer is $75 million at the sale's completion and another $75 million to be paid out over 10 years.

In fact, some folks already were suspicious, even if the newspaper's seldom-deployed editorial board was not: OUR OPINION: The time is right to sell Floyd Memorial Hospital.

The view from Clark County? It's all copacetic. Anyway, it's Morris again.

Floyd Memorial Hospital cuts list to three suitors; Some officials upset over lack of information

 ... However, longtime commissioner Chuck Freiberger said before he votes on a sale, he wants more details. He said he has received "very little information" and said there has been no transparency through the entire process.

"There was a task force formed without my knowledge and they have been meeting for about a year. I am told they are taking bids ... I think that is a problem," he said. "The public should be told. It's been kept hush, hush from the public."

Mark Seabrook represented the commissioners on the task force and Steve Bush sat in when Seabrook was absent. Bush said there was very little they were able to disclose due to the nature of the negotiations. He said members had to sign a confidentiality form.

I'm guessing it's too late for a referendum, but 2016 is a Floyd County election cycle. There is a huge amount of money involved, and yet every politician and hospital administrator close to the negotiations accepted terms of non-transparency.

There hasn't been much sunshine in this instance. As Bluegill previously noted on Fb:

The whole thing sounds like one of Dr. Eichenberger's blog posts. We must sell because it can't possibly make it as a public institution and we must sell now because it's in such good financial standing. Oh, and we voluntarily signed confidentiality agreements so the fact that we can't talk about it is not our fault. This is a guy who strenuously argued that whether or not people can access health services should not be considered in measuring health system quality. 

(Remember NA Health? The archives remain.)

My point, predictably offered in vain, is this: If we must wait for the outcome of the presidential election to appoint a Supreme Court justice, under the GOP's rationale that the voters need to decide, as opposed to the incumbents, then doesn't Floyd County's GOP-dominated government owe it to the citizenry to wait until after the forthcoming election before deciding what’s to become of Floyd Memorial Hospital?

Let the candidates state their preference, and let the voters choose. It's only fair, right?

$150 million says that ain't happening.

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