by Pam Zubeck
Ending nine months of meetings and research, the nine-member Citizens Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System has made its recommendation on the city-owned system's future.
It should be converted to a stand-alone nonprofit, the panel says.
Here's its letter to the community released today:
Letter to the Editor/Community
To the Citizens of Colorado Springs: Three times in the past ten years a committee or commission has been formed to study the future of Memorial Health System. It is fair to say, however, that no previous efforts have been given the resources and direction to work through a highly public, transparent process involving community leaders and national experts to examine all alternative models available to guide MHS’ future.
The Citizens’ Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System has reached a unanimous recommendation on the model that City Council and our fellow citizens should adopt to assure a strong health care system available to provide excellent quality care to all. We are absolutely convinced that given the implications of national health care reform and the forces impacting heath care and MHS in general, continuation of the status quo is not a viable option. We also strongly believe that the disadvantages associated with the hospital authority, not-for-profit affiliation/lease and for-profit sale options are too strong to be overcome and do not represent appropriate options for MHS. Independent, expert study of MHS’ current and future financial position convinces us that MHS has the ability to thrive as a newly formed, independent, not-for-profit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
The Citizens’ Commission made its recommendation to Colorado Springs City Council Nov. 22, 2010. The full report is available to the public on the Commission’s Web site www.MemorialCitizensCommission.com. Additionally, copies of the report will be available at several public locations throughout the community. Locations include the Downtown and East public libraries, the City Administration Building, and the libraries of Colorado College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Pikes Peak Community College’s south campus library.
The document begins with a summary of the process the Commission implemented to reach its conclusion and is followed by its recommendation of the above mentioned preferred model and rationale for not recommending the other models. The report also includes protections the Commission recommends be put in place along with the ownership/governance change.
This Commission was entrusted with a tremendous task. It has worked tirelessly to ensure access to this crucial community asset will continue and grow beyond our currently mandated boundaries. We have recommended an ownership and governance model that maintains a vital mission of providing the highest quality care, a quality-of-life promise to all, no matter their
ability to pay. The nine citizen volunteer Commissioners, who each call Colorado Springs their home, has made their recommendation — a recommendation we believe to be the best option for the future of healthcare in the Pikes Peak region.
We thank the City of Colorado Springs City Council and citizens for the opportunity to serve on the Commission and for the privilege in helping our community chart an exciting future for our health care system.
On behalf of the Memorial Citizens’ Commission:
Robert Lally, Chair
Martha Barton, Co Vice-Chair
Jay Patel, Co Vice-Chair
William Hodson, PhD.