If County Commissioners were serious about resolving the El Paso Children’s Hospital problems, they could easily do it through UMC’s budget. The County Commissioners recently asked the hospital district (UMC) to update their 2015 budget to remove subsidizing the El Paso Children’s Hospital from its budget. Basically, the commissioners told UMC to stop supporting the El Paso Children’s Hospital with taxpayer funds.

KVIA reported on Monday night that according to the County Commissioners, the children’s hospital will run out of money by Thanksgiving Day. The children’s hospital is currently under the bankruptcy court’s order to pay UMC and by extension, you the taxpayer, about $1 million a month in services that the children’s hospital consumes from UMC.

Next Monday, the bankruptcy judge is expected to rule whether El Paso Children’s Hospital should be paying UMC rent. The two major points of contention between the two organizations are that children’s alleges that it is being overcharged for the services UMC provides them. Children’s also argues that it should not be required to pay rent for the use of the building that the taxpayers paid to build them.

The judge’s ruling is now immaterial.

It has been conclusively shown that the El Paso Children’s Hospital is economically unfeasible.

Simply, it does not generate the revenues it needs to pay its bills.

There are those that argues that the community should be subsidizing a children’s hospital. The fact is that the taxpayers already subsidize a children’s hospital, the El Paso Children’s Hospital. Allowing the children’s hospital to shut down will not change that.

Other than the medical staff, the children’s hospitals operations are being provided by UMC, as evidenced by the almost $1 million in services UMC is charging children’s. Shuttering the children’s hospital will not make the building disappear, as it remains part of UMC.

So what happens to the patients, the current ones and the future ones?

First of all, there is another children’s hospital in El Paso. It is part of The Hospitals of Providence. It even has a teaching hospital under construction on the west side of town. I am sure they would welcome any patients that would like to transfer there.

The other and more important thing to keep in mind is that those patients that cannot transfer to the Hospitals of Providence, because of financial reasons, will not be kicked out to the curb.

University Medical Center (UMC), funded, by you, the taxpayer, has a mandate to provide health services to those patients. UMC already has the building. UMC already provides most of the support services, if not all of them. Therefore, it would be just a matter of contracting the missing components, such as the medical staff, to provide the necessary services.

The County Commissioners should order UMC to inform the bankruptcy court that it can no longer provide the necessary services to the children’s hospital. They should cease all negotiations. I am not clear as to how long, under bankruptcy court, is UMC required to provide the necessary services to children’s free of charge. However long, it cannot be an indefinite period of time. Once the court has been informed of UMC’s decision, it would take the necessary steps to force children’s to either begin paying its bills, or shut it down.

Either way, the taxpayer has shed the children’s hospital debacle from its bottom line.

It really is as simple as that.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

8 replies on “A Simple Solution to the El Paso Children’s Hospital Debacle”

  1. Providence hospital is terrible in the children’s area, basically only one doctor gives the orders there and he is getting old and is out of touch. They don’t have a neuro unit and are not suitable for major trauma to children.

  2. Typical El Paso, we insist on buying something new and shiny when all we needed was buy new tires…..Providence could have been given support and helped by our incompetent politicians but there would not have been enough wiggle room for theft and fame. Another example is our fabulous new baseball field which hopefully the team can win a useless trophy that now with the renovation of Cohen has raised the price of that fabulous investment to over 100 million dollars……..great job

  3. FYI, G. E. Nieto, Providence is a for profit operation, and UMC/EPCH are tax supported. Providence did not ask for, nor would it be legal for them to receive, any public assistance.

  4. GE, excellent !

    Just because Providence is for profit today, that doesn’t mean that with a few legal maneuvers, they couldn’t make a special arrangement to provide care for children.

    The money spent on the UNMC childrens’ wing and a million dollars a month in rent, it would appear they could crunch numbers with Providence and saved money.

    Like GE stated in the rush to build a legacy, damn the the torpedoes full speed ahead mentality and someone else’s money(taxes) it’s nice to spend. Maybe with a tax refund, spare change or grant from an El Paso government entity, I could get some propeller hats in my name. A program, in my name, to give everyone a free hat to stave off the heat, thus improving health. Now we could be awarded a legitimate title as the “Coolest City” with over 35 thousand people over the age of 22.

    Will we learn, NO ! All ten thousand voters will continue to elect the inept and the “Quest for Fame” gang. Nothing will change until you get off your duff and start making informed votes. Staying home or voting as told, these are the type of poor governing we receive. It’s all a monopoly game, even comes with the “do not collect $200 and go directly to jail”. Ask our 30 officials. Too bad stupidity and self promotion are not crimes.

  5. CH is a privately owned non-profit which was funded by our tax dollars. Then some still refuse to ask the questions much less demand an answers why this was allowed to take place. It is now clear by the facts that the powers that be knew and were aware they CH was it trouble early on. So my question why none of the leadership at CH,UMC our the County, or State leadership stood up and stop CH from spiraling out of control and waited more than two years to start to ask questions, step in and stop the loses? Why was their no process of accountable and oversight put in place for CH when they were given our tax dollars? Yep no one want to answer these questions or much less ask them. Surely no one is going to demand that any leadership that championed CH be held responsible. If the private sector which tried twice to make a go of Children’s wing couldn’t make it work than what on Gods earth made people think a government funded facility would do any different. Yep and people tried to point this out and no one listened.The same mind set now is that doing the same process over again that out comes will be different. Some of the same people telling you this were the ones who told you how great this idea CH was to start with and how you couldn’t lose in doing CH. Oh and it would cost you another dime in taxes. Also all the other businesses that would come with CH which would help off set cost to the tax payers never showed up and from what I’ve been told could be 20 years down the line before it happens. Yes it surely seems some still have their heads in the sand or other places.

  6. Another example of why the “it’s for the children” mantra makes my eyes bleed. What about the massive debt we leave them. We’ll end up like Detroit!

    It reminds me of that ogre, Veronica Soto, sobbing like a fool about how the ballpark was going to be the 9th Wonder of the World for her children. Puh-leez!

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