West Volusia Hospital Authority,
131 E. New York Ave.,
P.O. Box 509,
DeLand, FLA 32721.
To hand several newspaper reports that you are negotiating exclusively with the Adventists, that there is concern over the pension plan, that there may be concern over whether the Adventists will operate in the sunshine, and that there is concern over whether we will lose our hospital through a sale agreement.
Before addressing these concerns, allow me to note that the Adventists have been doing a pretty good job in Orange City. There is no clear reason that they could or would not, given a suitable management and operating contract, do the same in DeLand.
As to the pension plan, which Chairman Long termed a possible deal killer, I think that concern is over-stated. There is no reason that the pension plan can not be handled in such a way as to protect the employees and at the same time protect the taxpayers.
Assuming that Ormond has been fully funding the pension liability, there are two options. They can turn over to the Authority a sufficient amount of money to buy time in FRS equal to the time served under MHS. In the alternative, they may maintain the pension plan as a separate entity, fully funding their accrued liability through lump sum or time payments into a third-party plan.
The Authority has already fully funded its pension liabilities through its timely payments to FRS. Ormond either has done the same or should be required to so. Whichever method pleases Ormond, be it buying time in FRS or fully funding a third-party managed plan, they are obliged to fully fund their pension obligations. Either way, the employees are protected, and in no event is the Authority liable for any thing except postage should Ormond choose to buy FRS time through it.
Adventists and Sunshine
As you may be aware, Ormond has resisted Sunshine and Open Records provisions of §286.011, F.S., and Article 1 Section 24(b), Constitution of Florida, and §119.07, F.S., and article 1 Section 24(a), Constitution of Florida, (hence, collectively, Open Government). The matter has been to court several times, with the Supreme Court ruling that operations must be conducted pursuant to Open Government.
Since the initiation of the legal action, the Legislature has attempted to remove our hospital from the provisions of Open Government. The courts are in process of deciding whether the Legislature was successful; I do not make predictions as to how they will rule.
I would point out, however, that should the matter ultimately be decided in favor of Open Government, not only the existing records but also any future records and meetings will be exposed to public scrutiny. Also, should Ormond have commingled funds between our hospital and MHS, it is likely that much of MHS will also be opened: the public do have the right to follow their money. Likewise, should the Adventists be chosen to operate the hospital and then choose to commingle funds, employees, or other resources between DeLand and their other operations, they should be aware of the possibility that their operations would be opened to public scrutiny. I will be providing them with the attached ahs0001.txt so that they are fully informed and can seek any advice of counsel which they require.
The newspapers report that the Adventists are strongly seeking an agreement whereby we will sell them our public hospital. There is no evidence that they would repay us the hundreds of millions of tax dollars invested in the facility.
I do not believe a sale agreement wise: were they to obtain it, wed surely lose the beds. Two members of the Authority could agree at a time when other members were out of town, and those beds would be gone. There is no assurance that can be given the public that a future Board will not allow those beds to be moved.
Therefore, I urge the Board to limit any deal to a management agreement or an operating lease; no right of sale should be included. Only by ruling out such a possibility can the Board reassure that public that the hospital will not be sold.
CC: T.R. Trimble / AHS
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 also on display at the offices of the West Volusia Hospital Authority. No candidate has approved this material.