July 25, 2006 – Although Schneider Regional Medical Center has received its license to operate for the next year from Health Commissioner Darlene Carty, the issue still remains before the public.
The Virgin Islands Daily News published an editorial in Tuesday's newspaper that raised the ire of Schneider CEO Rodney Miller and Sam Topp, Radio One talk-show host and three-year SRMC board member.
On his Tuesday radio show, Topp discussed the editorial, which he said was shocking and unfounded; and Miller has written a response to the Daily News.
The Daily News editorial is highly critical of hospital officials, asking what SRMC has to hide. It concludes: "When Schneider Hospital officials attempt to conceal financial information, it only waves a red flag that there are serious or embarrassing problems within the management of the hospital. Even if Commissioner Carty signs the renewal, that red flag is still waving."
The license issue was resolved last Friday after Gov. Charles W. Turnbull called officials from the Department of Health and SRMC together for a meeting at Government House.
The governor's action was predicated by a volley of letters between the two entities which appeared to solve nothing (See "Health Commissioner and Hospital CEO at Odds Over License Procedure").
Adding fuel to the fire is correspondence the Source obtained Tuesday from the Health Department to both Juan F. Luis Hospital (JFLH) and SRMC. The letters, regarding license renewal, reveal different licensing requirements for each institution.
According to the correspondence, SRMC was asked in a letter — dated June 20 and signed by Deborah Richardson, Bureau of Health Planning administrator — to provide much more detailed financial information than a letter written to JFLH Oct. 27, 2005 and signed by Health Commissioner Darlene Carty. Licenses for both institutions expired June 30, 2006.
Both institutions are asked to provide information, however, Luis Hospital is asked to provide "an annual report in statistical narrative form, and SRMC is asked to provide both "an annual and financial report in statistical and narrative form."
Both institutions are asked to supply the following information:
– Activities performed during the year;
– Successes/failures in meeting goals and objective during the year;
– Limitations in meeting goals and objectives;
– Number(s) and type(s) of clients served;
– Categories of service provided;
– Additions/deletions or other changes in staffing;
– Credentials of staff;
– Any plans to change policies, which may affect the operation of the service;
– Goals and objectives for the upcoming year.
However, the letter to SRMC continues:
"The financial report should include the following items:
– Balance sheet statements
– Profit/loss statements
– Cash flow statements
– Charge master/Fee schedules
– Aged account receivables
– Aged accounts payables
– Projected capital expenditures for July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007."
The letter to Luis Hospital does not make these requests.
Gregory Davila, JFLH public relations officer, said this week that the hospital has "no problems whatsoever with the licensing." He said, "We have to abide by all rules of the Department of Health. We are current now on our Certificate of Need, we are accredited with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), Medicare and Medicaid. The annual report and certificate of need are renewed annually."
Regarding the financial information requested in the SRMC letter, Davila said, "The hospital's finance department must have played a part in it. I don't know what documents [were used]."
Amos Carty, SRMC chief operating officer, said Tuesday that he had no comment on the Daily News editorial. "Our written response should cover that," he said.
On a related topic, Amos Carty declined to comment on Friday's meeting with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull and SRMC and DOH officials. "We all agreed that the statement issued by the governor's office would be the official statement and anything beyond that should come from his office," Amos Carty said. He added, "I'm just happy that we have our license. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing."
James O 'Bryan, Turnbull's spokesman, has offered no further comment on the issue. Health Commissioner Carty was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
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