Tuesday, February 22, 2011

RegionalCare is Lesser of Two Evils

We recently mentioned that two local physicians support RegionalCare over the Helen Keller/Huntsville Hospital alliance. A reader asked:

Drs Heaton and Ba'albaki's letter leaves some unanswered questions:

1. How could a hospital in Colbert county pay taxes to both Colbert and Lauderdale County? I am sure they have this all worked out with the tax people at the courthouses.
2. The agreement/contract to sell ECM to Regional Care specified that the new hospital be built in Lauderdale County. How are they going to get around this?
3. How can 2 hospitals be combined without significant loss of jobs at one hospital or both?

They may be HEART doctors but it seems they are trying to mess with our MINDS.

We'll attempt to answer partially--although such answers may be debatable. The Coffee Health Group was non-profit and probably paid little or no taxes to the county governments--remember they owned hospitals in both Colbert and Lauderdale. Therefore, Lauderdale, if it should be deprived of tax revenue from RegionalCare, won't be losing any longstanding tax dollars.

As recently as last August, ECM CEO Joe Roach was still painting a rosy picture of a state-of-the-art facility in Lauderdale County. If that should be of great importance to Lauderdale citizens, they may just be out of luck. The Coffee Health Group has no desire to negate the contract and take back the hospitals. RegionalCare has already changed the name of the proposed facility once, so we doubt that anything is written in stone.

Considering the size of the new facility, we don't foresee many losing their jobs if Keller were to be swept up by RegionalCare. As it is now, no one seems to have job security at either hospital.

We hope that other physicians and department heads will offer some input into these questions. We welcome all comments, both pro and con; however, as the title of today's blog suggests, RegionalCare would seem to be the lesser of two evils. Lauderdale County has no choice--Colbert does. If you're a citizen of Colbert County, please make your wishes known to the county commission.


The Connection has published Part I in their series of articles on the Colbert 911 missing funds: Link