Gary Haberlan: Hospital needs transparent plan for $20M payment from UCHealth
On Aug. 21, 2017, the attorney general for the state of Colorado approved the integration agreement between University of Colorado Health — UCHealth — and Yampa Valley Medical Center. UCHealth is now the sole corporate owner of the local hospital and the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation.
It is most unfortunate that this transaction was conducted with very little community knowledge. My comments today relate to only one of the details contained in the document that is public information.
The attorney general’s document specifies the transfer of $20 million into the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation. I served for several years as the employee representative on the Foundation board in the early 2000s. During that period, we utilized a small amount of the funds we raised to include community needs outside the hospital.
After a couple of years, hospital administration took exception to the scope and directed all the funds raised be utilized for Yampa Valley Medical Center only. I resigned from the board following that decision.
In the mid-1990s, the people of the Yampa Valley provided tremendous support for the development and construction of the Yampa Valley Medical Center. The main hallway at our hospital is full of tiles identifying community members, local businesses, physicians, employees and anonymous individuals whose contributions went to help build our locally-controlled community hospital. These people, along with the donors who followed, deserve accountability for the $20 million that the Foundation will receive.
At the community town hall last month, hospital administration touted the $150,000 granted to the local school district for mental health services, which is a worthy initial step. Support for the local school district and other entities such as Northwest Colorado Health has also taken place in the past.
The Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation needs to be challenged to openly commit a significant portion of the infusion of $20 million to areas outside UCHealth’s direct needs. Otherwise, UCHealth takes these funds from one pocket and places them in another.
I encourage local residents to challenge the UCHealth board and the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation board to develop a specific plan for the $20 million they will receive over the next few years and openly share the plan with our community.
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