A reader sent in this link from our current county judge’s web site:
It is a reprint of an El Paso, Inc. article titled Proposed children’s hospital: the pros and cons.
She offers no comment but we have to think that she likes it, otherwise it would be relegated to obscurity and certainly not still on her web site.
From the article:
The Children’s Hospital, Valenti claims, will help address the pediatrician shortage. To staff the hospital, Thomason is dedicating $18 million over the next three years to work with the pediatrics department at the Texas Tech medical school to recruit and retain clinical experts in a number of pediatric specialties.
Because of that relationship with Texas Tech, specialists will be more willing to come to Thomason, Valenti said.
Note that our hospital administrator says that the specialists will be working at the county hospital, not the children’s hospital. Maybe he had the current situation planned all along.
As for the bond cost the article told us:
If approved, the children’s hospital bonds will increase property taxes on a $200,000 home by $4.76 a month or $57.12 a year in 2009. The tax will gradually become less expensive as the principal is paid off and by 2015 taxes for the hospital on the same home will cost $3.98 a month or $47.76 a month.
It should have said “The tax will gradually become less expensive if the principal is paid”. Paying on the never never showed us that at the current rate or principal payments it will take 140 years for us to pay off the bonds.
The article made it clear that the children’s hospital had to be separate from the county hospital:
Even though it will occupy building space owned by the El Paso Hospital District, it must be governed by a separate board of directors than the one that oversees Thomason to qualify as “separately licensed.”
“Even though the children’s hospital is under our umbrella, it will be governed separately. There may be one or two members of the Thomason board of managers who sit on the children’s board but they won’t have controlling interest. There are very specific rules and laws on that for separately licensed children’s hospitals,” Valenti said.
Those very specific rules seem to have been thrown out the window now that their project has failed.
Follow the money
The article pointed out why the hospital had to be a separate entity:
Why is it necessary that the children’s hospital have a separate board of directors, as well as separate administration and staff?
In a word, money.
When the children hospital’s governance becomes distinct from Thomason’s, it qualifies for preferential reimbursement from Medicare and the Texas Medicaid program.
Hospital officials estimate that designation will allow the children’s hospital to bring in an estimated $7.5 million in additional money.
Now we are hearing that our county hospital wants to take over the children’s hospital. So much for separation. So much for preferential reimbursement. So much for the truth.
We deserve better