Federally Mandated Improvements at Parkland Will Top $31 Mil

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To comply with federal regulations, Parkland will have to spend at least $31 million extra in 2013.
Parkland Memorial Hospital was almost shut down last year after federal inspectors threatened to cut off hundreds of millions of dollars of Medicare and Medicaid funding after finding "deficiencies that represent an immediate and serious threat to patient health and safety." Because of its size and importance to the community, Parkland was allowed to stay open so long as it consented to close federal scrutiny.

Parkland, dogged by solid reporting from the DMN, has been coy about specific plans, but tomorrow, the Dallas County Commissioners Court will get an idea of how much the fixes will cost.

According to tomorrow's briefing, Parkland will need to spend at least $31 million to bring itself into compliance with federal rules.

That includes $13.8 million to pay for 232 full-time positions (about a third in the emergency room), $9.1 million in consulting fees, $3.2 million for retention, $840,000 for additional supplies, and $600,000 in legal fees. Those are not included in the $1.2 billion operating budget proposed for 2013.

The presentation doesn't get into too many specifics, but the additional cash will add 57 new beds to the hospital and improve infection control, medication management, psychiatric services, etc.

In a voicemail she left me this morning, Parkland spokeswoman April Foran said the additional costs will be "funded internally" and that the hospital will not ask Dallas County to chip in. More specifically, she told me a moment ago, the money is coming from the hospital's reserves.

Now is as good a time as any to dip into the nest egg, but the costs could still be mounting. Buried in the briefing from Parkland officials is a bullet point noting that "substantial work remains ... to identify additional investments for [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] initiatives."

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Erich von Kleiber
Erich von Kleiber

If you're building a $1.27 billion replacement hospital and spending money like mad to buy up  land surrounding the hospital under eminent domain, so you can flip it later for a profit to private developers (see http://www.dallasobserver.com/2012-05-03/news/parkland-hospital-banks-on-a-land-grab/), where do you get the gall to say, don't worry we've got it covered with our own reserves? The math just doesn't add up. Why is Parkland holding money revenues from the County Commissioners, if they are supposed to be a county entity? It seems like they are just a private corporation, rather than an arm of the county government.

Get off my lawn
Get off my lawn

For a hospital, it's better not to fight your patients, employees, the government, and the press. Gee, $31 million!!! Lesson learned. Probably not.

Governmental watchdog
Governmental watchdog

How can Parkland say they will cover this with their own reserves? If they are a county governmental entity, they can't withhold money from going back into the county. It sounds like they were set up like a fake, non-profit county governmental body in order to shield themselves for tax-exemption purposes, when in fact they are really a private, for-profit corporation, using the county as a "beard."

Waste not, want not
Waste not, want not

>$9.1 million in consulting fees, $3.2 million for retention Let me guess, JWP's hospital consulting business costs 9.1 million and they have to pay Ron Anderson 3.2 million as "fair market value" to keep him on the Parkland payroll

Blun go go
Blun go go

There is a nice comment on this article on "The Parkland House of Horrors" at http://theparklandhouseofhorrors.blogspot.com specifically at http://theparklandhouseofhorrors.blogspot.com/p/blurbs.html . The question they really ask is where does Parkland get all this money that they don't put back to the County. It sounds like claiming to be a county governmental is just a guise to run as a private corporation for Parkland, if they can keep money from the county as separate assets.

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