Robert Butterworth,
Attorney General,
State of Florida,
Tallahassee, FLA 32399.

Dear Sir:

Your office is responsible for judging the effect on competition resulting from hospital mergers and take-overs. I would have your consideration of the latter relating to West Volusia Memorial Hospital, a/k/a Memorial Hospital - West Volusia (hence, ‘‘WVMH’’). The said facility is located adjacent to the City of DeLand.

For the past five years, WVMH has been operated by Memorial Health Systems Inc. That operation is scheduled to end with the fiscal year on 30-Sep-2000. The hospital is owned (and prior to 1994 was operated by) the West Volusia Hospital Authority (hence, ‘‘Authority’’), an independent special taxing district located mainly in the western portion of Volusia County.

It is proposed that WVMH be leased and operated by Adventist Health Systems, Inc. (hence, ‘‘AHS’’). AHS owns and operates the other hospital in West Volusia County, being Fish Hospital in Orange City.

The Authority provides funding for indigent care at both Fish/Orange City and WVMH. This funding is provided through an assessed millage, currently between 1 and 2 mils. The amounts of funding for indigent care at the two facilities is as follows:
fy WVMH Fish/O.C. tot

1996-1997 1,260,000 1,174,000 2,434,000
1997-1998 1,100,000 873,000 1,973,000
1998-1999 1,100,000 582,000 1,682,000
1999-2000 1,600,000 291,000 1,891,000
2000-2001 2,000,000 2,000,000 4,000,000

When AHS takes over WVMH, they will be the sole providers of indigent care (as well as paid hospitalization) in West Volusia. AHS will no longer be competing against MHS and will thus no longer have the pressure of demonstrating efficiency. Indicating a sudden lack of pressure, they propose that the FY 2001 (Oct 2000..Sep 2001) indigent care budget be $2,000,000 at each of the two facilities for a total of $4,000,000 in taxpayer funds.

Their proposal represents an increase of 111% (587% at F/OC, 25% at WVMH) in the cost to the taxpayers for indigent care if competition is eliminated. Indigent care is the primary expense and reason for the West Volusia Hospital Authority to exist, and is also the reason for tax collections by the Authority.

As a taxpayer, I urge you to carefully examine the competitive implications of permitting Adventist Health Systems, Inc., to operate both facilities in West Volusia.


Tanner Andrews

CC: Adventist Health Systems / attn: T.R. Trimble
CC: W.V.H.A. / P.O. Box 509 / DeLand 32721

Posting of this letter is a paid political advertisement provided by Tanner Andrews, P.O. Box 1208, DeLand 32721, independent of any campaign or committee. This material is on display at the Attorney General's office, and is also on display at the offices of the West Volusia Hospital Authority. No candidate has approved this material.

from @(#)ag0001.txt 1.0 30-May-2000

proc with @(#)hmac.ta2 1.1 22-Mar-2000