Last week, KVIA’s Andrew Polk (August 27, 2016) reported that the El Paso County Commissioners and the University Medical Center board were talking about “possible problems like the tax rate and the El Paso Children’s Hospital situation.” As I have been pointing out ever since the children’s hospital was proven to be financially unfeasible, the financial model used to get voters to support the children’s hospital were based on financial schemes that everyone knew were untenable. When Veronica Escobar and cohorts promised the taxpayers that they would fix the hospital, they gave you reasons why their new financial schemes were going to make you “proud” of the children’s hospital.
The problem is that the financial models being used are destined to fail. The first model they used to hoodwink you into were the IGTs. Obviously they failed to keep the hospital afloat. The new scheme is the “hospital within a hospital”.
And yes, they are schemes. The proof of this lies in the word-parsing that Escobar and cohorts use to explain to you how they are leveraging funds for the hospitals. Look at yesterday’s El Paso Times report by Lindsey Anderson to see the word-parsing. Anderson’s article focuses your attention on the changes to the bylaws and master agreements.
Although they mention the two operating documents they conveniently don’t let you know the details under the guise that they need to be voted on by others. Think about that for a moment. Open meetings laws are intended to give you the opportunity to see what will be voted on, but somehow these two documents, that govern how two public entities, supported by tax funds, cannot be seeing by the public until after they are voted on? Does that make sense?
Unfortunately, the word-parsing and propaganda does not stop there. Veronica Escobar is quoted in the paper using words like “best governance structure” and that UMC will somehow be paid the money owed to it by another taxpayer-funded entity. Remember, both the children’s hospital and UMC are funded with your tax dollars, so when children’s pays UMC all it is doing is taking your tax dollar and giving it to the other tax-funded entity. You just get to see your tax dollar go from children’s to UMC and somehow you are supposed to believe that it pays down debt. Do you get that dollar back or is it still spent? The $48 million is a red herring intended to make you feel better about your money.
But, let’s get back to the scheme. Lindsey Anderson quotes Ryan Mielke, UMC’s spokesperson as stating;
“In order to qualify for certain funding, children’s must be considered by state and federal organizations as a hospital within a hospital, as a separate hospital,” Mielke continued. “What the changes are designed to do is to strengthen that status as a hospital within a hospital. And so, due to the changes, which of course I can’t tell you exactly what those changes are until their board approves them, which of course then I will be at liberty to tell you, those changes are really designed to strengthen their status as a hospital within a hospital and ensure they do qualify for certain programs.”
The paper then adds a second quote from Mielke clarifying his earlier remarks. In the clarification, Mielke is quoted as stating: “the change Monday strengthened the relationship between the two hospitals, not children’s status as a hospital within a hospital.”
Why the clarification? Because the lawyers understand that it is a scheme likely to be frown upon by the federal government. Make no mistake, although you are being distracted with “state and federal organizations” the true source of the funds they are scheming come from federal funds, which are funded through your taxes. Just like the IGTs, it all goes through the Medicaid/Medicare monies that are trickled down to the State of Texas and added to the state’s pool of health monies.
The clarification is to distract away from the “hospital within a hospital” scheme that is replacing the IGTs failed model.
That is the reality of the children’s hospital but Escobar and other supporters of the children’s hospital keep insisting that the financial models are unique and too complex but that they will work.
In the KVIA report, Andrew Polk quotes UMC’s spokesperson, Ryan Mielke as stating that “it comes as no surprise to anyone that the budget issues with EPCH as well as with…UMC continues, and they’re going to continue for years to come.”
The KVIA report points out that the children’s needs a “key designation,” read scheme, in order to have any hope of financial viability. KVIA quotes David Stout as stating “we need to understand that there may be a possibility that we don’t get the ‘hospital within a hospital designation’ and that would mean an extra $10 million, possibly, less”. Yup, that is $10 million!
The “hospital within a hospital” is another one of those too complex to understand designations that Veronica Escobar and cohorts rely on to hoodwink the voters into believing that they won’t be saddled with the children’s hospital on their property taxes. Like the “IGT” scheme, the “hospital within a hospital” scheme relies on the federal government to allow it to happen. What Escobar and cohorts do not want you to know is that the federal government does not want these financial schemes to continue because they can’t afford them.
When the children’s financial failure became untenable, the IGT scheme was blamed for its failure. Like I pointed out previously, it took four financial models to find one that would make the children’s hospital feasible and even that one used the IGTs as the base for the financial viability even though most everyone knew that the federal government was turning off the spigot to the IGTs because of the abuse.
When Veronica Escobar was asking you to support children’s becoming a part of UMC, she told you that only a hospital connection would open up revenue streams that would fund the children’s hospital. Those fund are the “hospital within a hospital” that Stout and the others at the county and UMC are finally acknowledging may not work.
Keep a close eye on this because just like the children’s IGT financial scheme did not work, nor will the “hospital within a hospital” designation because of the simple reason that ObamaCare is supplanting the financial streams that these schemes rely on.
You might as well get ready for a line item on your next tax bill designating the El Paso Children’s Hospital as another dependent tax entity which will be supported by your tax dollars. That is the only possible outcome regardless of the word parsing, propaganda and promises of “debt” being paid off by the children’s hospital.