by Pam Zubeck
A citizens committee reviewing Memorial Health System ownership and governance has issued a letter to the community. In the interest of informing our community, we offer you the letter in its entirety:
April 9, 2010
Dear Citizens of Colorado Springs,
Your City Council-appointed Citizens’ Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Hospital System (MHS Commission) is up and running. We are tasked by Council with gathering information, soliciting viewpoints and making recommendations concerning possible changes in city-owned Memorial Health System’s ownership and/or governance to accomplish the following, equally-prioritized objectives:
Minimize taxpayer financial and legal exposure
Maximize MHS’s benefit to the community, including high-quality care and economic/financial impact
Access to excellent health care designed and delivered around community needs.
During our first five weeks, we have met with our Mayor and City Council members, and have received our charter and the collective guidance of the Council. We have also held five publicly-announced open meetings to discuss how best to achieve our objectives. At those meeting we have heard from MHS’ CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy, Colorado Springs City Attorney Patricia Kelly, Executive Director of the El Paso County Department of Health & Environment Kandi Buckland, and MHS’ Board of Trustees.
During the next two to three months, we will concentrate on understanding and communicating the place and function of MHS in our community’s system of health and wellness. In the months that follow, we will analyze, discuss, and communicate MHS’s ownership options, including maintaining the current situation, and their relative benefits and risks to the community. Finally, we will discuss and decide what to recommend to City Council. Throughout this process, we will do our best to communicate with the citizens (our neighbors) of Colorado Springs we are serving. We encourage you to attend our meetings, read and view the media reports, and, especially, let us know what questions you have and your views on this very important topic.
· Meeting times/dates and places, as well as summary minutes of each Commission meeting, will be posted on the Commission’s blog (http://ccogmhs.wordpress.com) and on the Commission’s web page, hosted on the city’s website, springsgov.com
· Generally speaking, local news media representatives attend each Commission meeting and report on the proceedings. MHS also blogs the proceedings live (http://thefutureofhealthcare.com).
· We have tasked a committee of the Commission with exploring and recommending ways to ensure that we have a robust community engagement process.
· In addition, we have incorporated, and will continue to incorporate, the ideas of our fellow citizens who take time to attend and participate in this process.
What lies ahead: learning about the basic ownership and governance options and analyzing them through several lenses—the lens of community benefit, the lens of access to care and the lens of risk. In addition, the Commission will be learning from many different experts as well as other communities who have experienced a transition in hospital ownership
We want to assure our fellow citizens that we will continue to be open in our deliberations and inclusive in our communications. Within the next few weeks we will have a “Plan of Action and Milestones” on the Commission website that will allow you to follow our progress. Also, please feel free to contact us with any ideas, thoughts, and/or suggestions you may have.
As we continue to move forward, please be assured that the members of this Commission are committed to ethical, honorable and forthright deliberations. We intend ultimately to present to City Council a fair recommendation, based on facts as they are presented, in the best interests of us all, now and for the future..
The MHS Commission