HealthOne ‘disappointed,’ maintains Memorial interest

Filed under: Daily News,Health Care | Tags:, ,

HealthOne isn’t going to accept defeat quietly.

After learning this morning that their bid was not chosen by the City Council-led task force to lease Memorial Health System, the health care giant said the process was completed too quickly and the task force “rushed to judgment.”

The task force unanimously chose the University of Colorado Hospital to lease Memorial. The City Council will receive the proposal Jan. 9 and voters will have their say sometime in the spring of 2012.

But HealthOne again is questioning the objectivity of the task force.

“We believe voters will have serious concerns about the objectiveness of the task force, since some members made it clear form the beginning they would not review HealthOne’s bid with open minds,” said CEO Jeff Dorsey in a prepared statement. “The task force has recommended a bid that relies on the formation of two new entities that don’t yet exist.”

Dorsey said the for-profit system “laid out the clearest path” for improving the quality of care.

It’s not the first time that the publicly traded company has affected the process. Last year, HCA/HealthOne hired a local consultant and mailed flyers to Colorado Springs residents claiming that the citizen-led Memorial Commission was biased when it unanimously recommended an independent, nonprofit Memorial Health System.

Almost a year later, HealthOne still isn’t giving up hope that Memorial could be part of its international system.

“We will continue to have an interest in memorial’s future,” Dorsey said. “The City Council and the Colorado Springs voters will have the final say.”

Dorsey said the Council should review two proposals – theirs and UCH’s.

Their decision to push their proposal didn’t surprise Councilman Tim Leigh.

“It’s what they do,” he said. “Their business model is mergers and acquisitions. So I am not surprised they want to continue. I’d be disappointed if they went away – it would mean that the hospital isn’t worth what they say it is.”

Leigh said HealthOne’s mistake was thinking that Leigh and Councilwoman Brandy Williams were their advocates.

“We were advocates for no one,” he said. “I gave the presentation about their proposal and I believe they got a fair day in court.”

He chose the University of Colorado Hospital proposal because it was about Colorado, he said.

“With HealthOne, you are getting a corporation, with no allegiance to anyone,” he said. “This is about Colorado – this about building community, getting on the same bus and all singing Kumbaya together. It’s about choosing the long money over the short, easy money. We have a chance to build something here – something for Colorado.”

He isn’t too worried that HealthOne could derail the process. In fact, he believes the UCH proposal might have unanimous support at City Council.

“I don’t know that for sure, but my intuition tells me that’s the case,” he said. “And which would you rather do – stand with your family and fight the outsider, or stand with the outsider and fight your family? This (UCH’s) proposal has so much widespread community support – business, health care, education – I can’t see it failing.”