West Volusia Hospital Authority,
131 E. New York Ave.,
P.O. Box 509,
DeLand, FLA 32721.


I have to hand the Keeping the Public Informed package sent by Ormond to the Board and intended for public consideration. It aroused some scepticism here.

The term ‘‘intro’’ and numbers below refer to the un-numbered and numbered sections of the referenced piece by Mr. Lind, respectively.

I thank Mr. Lind also for bringing forth the COME ON ORMOND piece, which being anonymous would be due only scant consideration, except that Mr. Lind evidently feels that the sentiment expressed therein is quite wide spread.

Intro : (see it)

Patient care remained our first priority throughout.
Judging from the employee response, someone forgot the people who provide the patient care; let’s just consider this a convenient evasion.

...it is crucial for our communities to work together with us on an open and above board basis to maintain our hospital.
The hospital operates as a private corporation, with books and meetings closed to the community.

score: 1 prevarication , 1 evasion

1 : You won’t provide your pink lady meals. (see it)

Volunteers provide highly valued and respected assistance for patients and visitors at the hospitals they serve.
Not really germane to the issue.

Memorial Hospital-West Volusia has not provided free meals to Auxillians for more than four (4) years.
You couldn’t have cut them if they weren’t there. They got cut.

score: 1 prevarication , 1 evasion

2 : You have now stopped matching your employee pension contribution. (see it)

The committee recommended eliminating a company-matching plan for employees’ additional voluntary contributions.
One ought to take responsibility for one’s work. We understand that the ‘‘success 2000’’ info wasn’t supposed to leak out without an appropriate spin being put on it, but at this point you can probably admit that you’ve stopped pension matches.

The health and dental insurance ... remained intact
Except that you cut prescription benefits, and eliminated disability, scoring a double fib here.

score: 2 prevarications , 1 evasion

3 : You cancelled employee Christmas party, &c. (see it)

...the same benefit group mentioned above recommended...
Again, let’s stand up and be counted. Oh, they met in secret, so everyone evades responsibility?

Medical Staff graciously gave Holiday gift certificates to all employees.
A fine gesture on the part of the doctors; they should be commended. Of course the statement again avoids the issue of Christmas bonuses, their form and more particularly their absence.

Another extra that was eliminated this year was the free coffee... (see it)
total cost was approximately $100,000

Considering it an extra instead of a workplace necessity seems a little marginal to me, but then computer companies like my employer run on coffee. If you cut it out, maybe everyone will be too groggy to notice that the claimed price works out to about $273/day, a figure which we will charitably call exaggerated given the price of coffee at Publix.

score: 4 evasions

4 : Isn’t employee appreciation still what makes a hospital run? (see it)

Employees are the foundation of our success.
A common platitude, usually offered by those who have little actual regard for the employees. Generally ranked with ‘‘the check is in the mail’’, ‘‘that dress doesn’t make you look fat’’, and ‘‘I’m here from the government to help you’’, and so is uncharitably given the

score: 1 prevarication

5 : We have developed a bad reputation ... (see it)

Our community hospital’s reputation has improved dramatically over the past five years.
Except that it’s not really a community hospital since it’s run in secret by a private corporation, and the reputation has in fact declined. Consider this one a two-fer prevarication. I suggest that to improve the reputation, Ormond might clean the place better, reduce the reliance on pool nurses, and inject some actual care into their ‘‘patient care.’’

Patient satisfaction continues to improve.
I don’t believe this. You don’t believe this. I have cinder bricks in the back yard which aren’t dumb enough to believe this. The reports I get are that one often waits tens of minutes after signalling for a bed-pan and clean sheets are often delayed. Since the hospital operates in secret, we aren’t likely to see the actual patient satisfaction surveys.

The volume of letters and visits from patients expressing displeasure .. has decreased
What they forget to tell you is that such expressions would be pointless - and nearly everyone knows it. Most members of the Board will recall hearing from the former head of the advisory group about the crummy care.

Utilization of ... pool nurses ... common practice in Florida (see it)

Issue avoided neatly: instead of telling us how often we’re using pool nurses and how we compare, Mr. Lind merely praises them. Well, I think we all appreciate the pool nurses - they are a god-send; you need them and they’re there. Good they are, but they still don’t provide the same continuity of care as staff nurses.

Patients’ average length of stay [in ER] is approximately 2.5 hours. (see it)

After which they go die or give up and go home? Seriously, ‘‘averages’’ can be computed in many ways, and for this one we really want the median rather than the mean or mode. A non-evasive answer would tell us what Ormond was doing to handle the long waits in the E.R.

score: 3 prevarications , 3 evasions

6 : Business is so bad that nurses are sent home in the middle of shift (see it)

employees may be ‘‘floated’’ to other areas or other ... facilities
Avoiding the issue of whether, in fact, nurses are sent home in the middle of shift. We are led to suspect that they are, since...

[e]mployees may choose to utilize their Personal Leave time or take the time off without pay
when business is slack. It is certainly outside of my range of experience for a business to expect employees to come in to work, only to be sent home without pay because business is lousy.

score: 1 evasion

7 : You borrowed money from a bank to make payroll. (see it)

This is not true.
Technically, this could be an evasion rather than an outright lie. Money is a fungible commodity; one could borrow money ‘‘for supplies’’ which just happened to be the amount lacking to make payroll.

score: 1 evasion

8 : The morale at our facility is the lowest its ever been and getting worse each day. (see it)

Memorial’s core employees have pulled together to face these challenges and understand the basis for the difficult budgetary cuts made this year.
Score an evasion here: note the weasel qualifier of "core" employees. This would no doubt be the management team, who seem to be doing quite well financially.

score: 1 evasion

9 : The $52 million Bond money is spent. (see it)

The net proceeds of this bond issue was ... spent, as follows: ... Refund Authority Debt $30.9 million
He may be telling the truth, more or less; we can’t check due to closed books. Still, this section counts as a big avoidance of the fact that the money is gone, there appears to be no more, and there is no visible way to finance Mr. Lind’s big plans for Flagler, Peninsula, and Port Orange.

score: 1 evasion

10 : Lind is out trying to sell 49% (see it)

There is no initiative to sell ownership of Memorial Health Systems.
Such a statement simply screams of incompleteness. What is missing? Well, maybe the goal is to ‘‘lease’’ ownership, or to ‘‘merge’’, or ‘‘join’’, or something else. I’m sure it isn’t a lie, but at the same time it brings us no closer to the truth.

score: 1 evasion

11 : Independent release of executive compensation (see it)

Federal law now requires public release of IRS form 990 which includes listing of compensation for officers and directors of not-for-profit corporations.
True: all this and more must be reported, though it may be difficult and time-consuming to obtain the information, and few people know that it may be had.

When considering the appropriateness of the pay structure ...
One look at the pay structure tells us who has figured out how to milk a ‘‘not-for-profit’’. In fact, Mr. Lind makes Mr. Arimony (of former United Way fame) look like a piker. Of course he can’t come out and say this.

annual gross revenues of over half a billion dollars
This won’t mislead anyone with hospital experience, where the ‘‘gross’’ is always much higher than the real money, because the gross is based on full retail prices which are almost never collected. Nice try, though.

The pay plan ... is geared towards paying at the median level on a market comparative basis.
The pay plan is, in fact, geared to rewarding those with sufficient cupidity and enthusiasm to loot the corporation, and who find it convenient not to have to answer to stock holders.

score: 1 prevarication, 2 evasions


Where’s the fun in scoring all those sections if we didn’t have a final tally?
prevarications 9
evasions 17
From this we can see that the evasions outnumber the outright lies by a good margin. However, a truly skilled bureaucrat should be able to avoid lies entirely, relying on evasions and incomplete answers to frustrate the search for truth.

I suggest that Ormond adopt certain measures to counter the concerns raised in the COME ON piece and inadequately addressed in Mr. Lind’s disingenuous Keeping the Public Informed effort. Particularly: Clean our facility. Keep it accredited. Take care of the patients. Take care of the people who take care of the patients. Fix the E.R. even if it means switching providers.

Also: Fix the executive compensation system to reduce looting. Fix the employee compensation to retain good staff. Open the books to prevent rumors about the financial situation. Reduce the debt load. Open the meetings so that the public can see, affect, and have confidence in the decisions. Toss anonymous mail. Tell fewer lies. Quit fantasizing about building in Flagler, Peninsula, and Port Orange.


Tanner Andrews

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.

from @(#)hosp9929.txt 1.0 30-Dec-1999

proc with hmac.ta2