City Council Decision on Memorial Health System Summarized
Yesterday’s Council decision regarding Memorial Health System was preceded by complex and wide-ranging presentations. Please see the summary below which clarifies yesterday’s actions.
What did Council decide to do? In a 7 – 2 vote, Council members decided to add an item to the November ballot that would allow voters to repeal a 1949 ordinance that requires City Council to implement a tax to pay for any operating deficit of Memorial Health System. Council also voted to seek “RFP’s” or Requests for Proposals, from interested groups to lease and operate Memorial Health System, to be completed by the end of 2011.
Why is the Council considering the operations of Memorial Health System? The current operating model, which features City Council oversight, will not provide sufficient flexibility for future success. Local advisory groups have suggested business models to ensure the long-term success of Memorial Health System. Memorial executives have lobbied for a model that would set up a locally controlled non-profit to run the organization. Council considered this item as a step toward a new business model for Memorial.
What was the mayor’s position? “Memorial Hospital is the second largest asset the City owns. This is a big decision and all options should be considered. Only one proposal has been investigated. A fair, open and comprehensive process, allowing all qualified parties to propose, must take place,” Bach said. “Furthermore, all future financial risk and liability must be eliminated for the taxpayers. PERA must be the sole responsibility of the future health system operator not the taxpayer. A fair return on investment must be provided to the citizens/owners. Voters should make the decision about the future of Memorial Hospital.”
What will happen next? The referred item will appear on the Nov. 1 ballot for voter consideration. The City will also begin a Request for Proposal process to encourage interested organizations to submit proposals for leasing and operating Memorial Health System. Accepted bids will be considered by a Council task force, the Mayor’s office and representatives of the Regional Leadership Forum. Any winning bid would be presented for voter approval.