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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Grady Hospital: Making a Scandal Disappear

At the end of last year, there appeared to be hope that the public would start to pay attention to the obscene corruption at Grady Hospital. The hospital was in desperate need of hundreds of millions of cash infusion or facing the real possibility of closing. At roughly the same time, JCAHO threatened to revoke Grady's accreditation. The step by JCAHO was nearly unprecedented. This was a step that JCAHO only took once previously with King Drew Hospital in Los Angeles. Furthermore, the Georgia Legislature started a political game of chicken with the hospital over the much needed funding. Then, at the beginning of 2008 the hospital CEO, Otis Story, resigned under mysterious circumstances. There were rumors that the legislature would hold hearings, and for a month or two the media in Atlanta was fairly engaged.

All of this was the set up at the end of last year for what appeared to finally be the moment when the light would shine on all the atrocities going on at the hospital. That appears to be false hope. At the beginning of April, it was announced that a private philanthropic group would infuse the hospital with money. With the hospital no longer facing the possibility of shutting down, the media attention all but dried up.

Of course, this is entirely due to the media's, ignorant or willful, false narrative. The issue was never really about whether or not Grady would be infused with cash or not. The issue should have always been how this massive hospital found itself in the position to simultaneously face a multi hundred million dollar short fall and be threatened with revokation of their license by JCAHO.

The media's lack of interest in the story frankly ought to be criminal in its obscenely corrupt lack of interest. First, if Grady is a public hospital, why did it need a private donor to infuse it with cash? It's because even the state legislature could no longer continue to drop public money down the corrupt money pit that is Grady Hospital. Apparently, the media can't be bothered to explore that portion of the story.

Second, why did Otis Story get fired? Sources tell me that he wouldn't go along with the corrupt practices that are standard operating procedure there. Of course, only the powers that be and Story know and they aren't talking. What is an undeniable fact is that Grady seems to have a startling pattern for employing CEO's with rather short tenures. This also seems to be a fact the media in Atlanta can't be bothered with. Furthermore, Story was replaced by Pam Stephenson. Pam Stephenson is now simultaneously the hospital CEO, head of the board, and a member of the Georgia legislature. Of course, no one seems to be bothered by this inherent conflict of interest even though it was this exact sort of conflict of interest that lead to the scandal surrounding State Senator Charles Walker and Grady Hospital.

Then, there is the entity that was the source of the funds. Why it was none other than the Woodruff Foundation. That would be the exact same Woodruff that is the namesake for Emory University's medical school as well as nearly half the buildings in campus. (it's named after Robert Woodruff former CEO of Pepsi) Of course, Emory is the single biggest source of employees at Grady Hospital and Grady is the overwhelming source for medical training at Emory. Apparently we have yet another inherent conflict of interest that no one seems to be bothered by.

Next, there is the new non profit 501 (3) C board that has taken over at Grady Hospital. What is this board and what is their function? We'll likely never know because its structure is such that it can be public or private whenever it wants to be, and thus, it is nearly impossible to oversee it. Would anyone really be surprised if several members of the board could also be found on the very Woodruff foundation that gave Grady the much needed funds? Is their behavior appropriate? We'll never know because it will be near impossible to investigate them.

Finally, there is the JCAHO threat. What happened to it? Last year, JCAHO was threatening to revoke Grady's accreditation. Since then, absolutely nothing has happened. In fact, the JCAHO report that lead to the revokation threat wasn't even released to the public. Isn't that report a matter of public interest? Why hasn't it been released? We'll never know what's in it because the media is totally uninterested in finding out.

What's really obscene about the entire turn of events is that the same corruptors that put Grady in a position for this massive bailout, then continued to corrupt it so brazenly and no one seemed to be bothered. Pam Stephenson's dual roles are a matter of public record. So is the ties between the Woodruff foundation, Emory University, and Grady Hospital. No one ever explained what exactly the 501(3) C would do and why that would improve the situation. In other words, the public and the media stood by while Grady Hospital created a useless and irrelevant board that addressed nothing while at the same time taking absolutely no steps to address any of the inherent problems at Grady Hospital.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That appears to be the mindset of the citizens and the media in and around Atlanta regarding Grady Hospital.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is COKE not Pepsi. Coke was started in Atlanta, Pepsi in NC.

Otherwise story seems right, my wife worked there for 3 yrs.