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.