Lally leading the conversation about Memorial’s future

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A former Navy pilot, Bob Lally moved to Colorado Springs in 2006 for a job with U.S. Northern Command. The “wow factor” of the city captured his attention, so he dropped anchor and waded into the community. Today, Lally’s involved with the National Homeland Defense Foundation and the UCCS athletic foundation. But he might be best known to the business community for his work as chairman of the Citizen’s Commission on Governance and Ownership of Memorial Health System.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Memorial Commission?

It seemed like the perfect time to have this conversation. The nation had just started debated health care reform, and I wanted to be a part of the conversation Colorado Springs was having about its hospital. This is an important discussion, and could very well be the most important decision the city makes this year. There’s just no better time for this decision.

I think people didn’t understand how much work it takes to reach a recommendation. We have to come up with a single plan for Memorial. It has to have precedence, we have to prove why we picked that recommendation, and the pros and cons behind it.

What has the public response been?

It’s been very positive. We had a town hall meeting, and it was just like an old-fashioned town hall — all that was missing was the (cigarette smoke). People from all walks were there: employees, patients, doctors, just people who were interested. The mayor stood up and gave his perspective. This decision really affects everyone in the city, it’s important we get it right. And I think we will.

What’s next for the commission?

We have a meeting today to discuss integrated models of care. Then Memorial gets to make a presentation about their view of what should happen next. We have another town hall meeting set for Sept. 22. At that meeting, we’ll have all the options lined up, all the pros and cons. People will be able to ask questions, give input. We’re hoping for as big a turnout was we had last time.

We are, to use a Navy term, on a glide slope — we’re getting close to the finish.

Our final recommendation will be made to city council Nov. 22. After that, it’s up to them.

Do you have a favorite option for Memorial’s future?

I’m keeping an open mind until we hear the options and sort out the pros and cons. It’s been a great conversation with different hospitals to see how they made the transition and how they’ve benefited.

I think moving it away from city ownership will allow for more partnerships, more ventures. The system will certainly be more flexible.

But we’re still determining which governance system is the best, and we want to be sure we have all the information before w decide.

We’re fully transparent, but we do want to speak with one voice about this.

Audio excerpt of the interview with Bob Lally.