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Thursday, July 05, 2007

PG Hospital Circus Update

(Posted 5 Jul 2007)
Letter: Dimensions Healthcare Had Its Chances.
Post, 5 July 2007 John C. bernard).
It is time that Dimensions Healthcare goes. This corporation that runs the Prince George's County hospitals has had more than two decades to find a way to stabilize its finances without having to run to the taxpayers every time the top brass wants a raise, a golden parachute or an executive washroom.

Dimensions said that in exchange for receiving more money from the county, it would change the membership of the board of directors on its sinking ship. They say now, "We didn't really mean what we promised the people of Prince George's County."

The lying needs to stop. I don't think asking four members of this board to resign is enough. They all need to go.

Health care is vital for all of us. However, this board has continued to preside over chaos and inefficiency for many years. No wonder Jack Johnson and other county officials want them to resign; the board has betrayed the public trust.

The solution now is to turn over the reins of our hospital system to the people rather than entrust them to this corporate board that has betrayed us all.
Dimensions Sues County
PrinceGeorges_Discussion, 4 July 2006 (Del. Niemann).
. . . When it comes to our hospital system, Dimensions is not the issue. Control is.

The latest unilateral demand for control of the Dimensions Board by the county government is a desperate effort to prevent any solution to the problem that they do not control.

It isn't about management because they don't have managers to take over.

It isn't about management because they don't have a plan.

It is about blocking any state effort to create a new framework to solve the problem.

It is about keeping any decision about the future of the system in their political hands.
Dimensions Healthcare board votes to take legal action against county]----15 QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED!!!!????
PG-Politics, 4 Jul 2007 (Arthur Turner)
(Letter to Mr. G.T. Dunlop Ecker, President and CEO, Dimensions Healthcare System)

Hospital Board to Sue for County Funds.
Post, 4 Jul 2007 (Helderman).

Dimensions Healthcare board votes to sue Pr. George’s County.
Examiner, 4 Jul 2007 (Fowler).

Dimensions threatens to sue in dispute over health care system.
Examiner, 3 Jul 2007 (Fowler).

Dimensions Healthcare board votes to take legal action against county.
Washington Business Journal, 3 Jul 2007 (Sinha).
The Dimensions Healthcare System board voted in closed session Tuesday to take legal action against Prince George's County to win back $14 million that the county is withholding from the ailing hospital system, according to sources close to the board.
[* * *]
County officials said their demands for a new board makeup haven't changed. While Jim Keary, spokesman for County Executive Jack Johnson, has previously said that the county would work to get such a lawsuit dismissed, he declined to comment on the possibility immediately after Tuesday's meeting. "Nothing has happened yet," he said. "I don't have a crystal ball."

Instead as evidence of their claims of board mismanagement, county officials pointed to the system's persistent financial losses, which reached $15.1 million this past May, a drastic jump from the $1.2 million in losses in May 2004. In that same time period, patient services revenue increased from $316.2 million to $352.4 million.

"They need to come up with a plan to stop the red ink and change the leadership of the hospital," Keary said.

Hospital officials said the losses stem from falling patient volumes, from 24,300 admissions in May 2004 to 19,200 in May 2007. They said the system saw higher revenue in that time because state regulators increased the insurance reimbursement rates its hospitals receive. But, they added, those higher rates also drove away insured patients, leaving the system with a higher uninsured burden of care.
[* * *]
While each party points fingers at the other for not providing adequate amounts of care and dollars, this latest vote begs the question of who will submit to the other first. And it continues to leave the future of the hospital system and its six facilities, including the county's only trauma center, in question -- an issue that could come before the state legislature six months from now.

"The General Assembly will have to act," said Maryland Del. Doyle Niemann, D-Prince George's County, who has again sponsored legislation that would create a new hospital authority to take control of the system. "If the present situation stays the way it is, it will be on the agenda in January."
Dimensions presents counterproposal to resuscitate Prince George's hospital.
Washington Business Journal, 29 Jun 2007 (Sinha).Dimensions Healthcare System's board has suggested adding four more publicly appointed positions to the board as a counterproposal to Prince George's County's recent demand that four board members resign or else the county will no longer fund the ailing hospital system.

The board said that if its counterproposal, put forth Friday, is rejected, the county will have breached an April agreement to fund the system through June 2008, and board members will discuss legal action when they meet July 3. County officials said such legal complaints have no foundation.
[* * *]
"The board recognizes the [county plan] as simply an attempt by the county to gain control over the board of Dimensions," wrote board Chairman Calvin Brown in a letter to County Executive Jack Johnson. Brown recalled previous unanswered letters in which he emphasized that the earlier condition should not apply to the new funding plan.

"The [county plan] is similarly devoid of any reasons at all why the board members selected to resign should do so," Brown wrote. "There are no allegations of improper or incompetent behavior and no credible allegations of such could be made. Finally, the county has made no secret of its desire to see Dimensions go into bankruptcy and, if the county obtained control of the board, no doubt such action would follow shortly."

Dimensions' latest proposal on the board's membership is likely to get a cool reception from county officials, who say they already spurned a similar proposal years ago.

"This is just a rehash of something proposed three years ago that was soundly rejected," said Jim Keary, a spokesman for Johnson, who is still reviewing the counterproposal. "There must be changes made to this board membership so proper oversight and so cost-cutting policies are put into place."

Harsh Hospital Words.
Maryland Moment, 29 Jun 2007 (Helderman).
The stage is set for a real showdown on the Prince George's hospital next week. . . .
Hospital CEO doesn’t trust officials to pass along state funds.
Gazette, 22 Jun 2007 (Tallman).On Wednesday, a top executive of Prince George’s Hospital told top state officials that he was not confident his institution would receive a state appropriation if the money went to the county first.

‘‘I’m not sure that if state approves something ... the county would then permit us to use it,” said G.T. Dunlop Ecker, chief executive officer of Dimensions Healthcare.

Ecker spoke before the Board of Public Works, the three-member board that approves large state contracts. The board approved $3.2 million for the hospital, but only after assuring Ecker that the money would go directly to vendors, or to the county after invoices had been filed.

[Note: The Washington Times continues to ignore the hospital issue.]

28 Jun 2007, 27 Jun 2007, 26 Jun 2007, 20 Apr 2007, 11 Apr 2007, 5 Apr 2007, 4 Apr 2007 [More]

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