Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Smoke" and Mirrors

Anonymous said...

"From what I understand the burn center is just not a money making venture. It ties up resources that could be better used. I hate the Humphrey's administration, but must be on the side of logic.

Quit whining and think of a better use. Maybe an expensive rehab center for all the spoiled rich kids from this area.

P.S. Didn't Someone high up get convicted for embezzlement of money from the burn center. I can see them laughing at us in Jackson right now."

You're right... no burn center is ever going to be a money making venture. The cost of care is extremely high and will likely go much higher. Greenville's burn center was not established for the purpose of financial gain (at least not by its founders). It began in response to a very critical medical need in a very under-served portion of our state.

Throughout its existence, it saved the lives of countless individuals in Mississippi as well as in neighboring states, and it was an exemplary point of pride for our citizens. Greenville offered a unique and specialized medical service for which it was often recognized and greatly appreciated.

Greenville's burn center didn't close because its services were no longer needed or utilized. It didn't close because of the high cost of burn care or the departure of Dr. Rob Love, III. It didn't close because of lack of funding or insolvency.

It closed because Ray Humphreys couldn't completely control it and because he needed a "red herring" to divert the public's attention from the fiscal nightmare of purchasing King's Daughters Hospital.

Greenville's civic priorities seem a bit askew. We almost declare a civil war over the possibility of losing a federal building to Cleveland, but in the wake of losing a vital medical facility that saved countless lives, we rationalize, "well, it wasn't making money."

Go check the batteries in your smoke detectors and pray your family will never need our lost burn center.... Jackson is still two hours away!

Forthright

1 comment:

An Old Friend said...

Forthright,

There may be some ego play in the closure of the Burn Center, but financial concerns must be the number 1 priority.

The Burn Center leaked money and its primary fundraising arm was, in my opinion, forever tainted by the long-time embezzlement by a long-time official. Top it off with locals "going to bat" as character witnesses for the convicted and you've cemented a measure of distrust for a non-profit fundraiser.

Next, review the local political leadership response to the official fundraisers. The car show was considered "dangerous" despite the fact that locals caused the trouble. Shame on the media for not making that more clear. Shootings are more damaging that excessive or underage beer drinking in hotel rooms. The concentration of the car show patrons on one boulevard made them easy to police - if there were adequate policing strategy (for that, I don't know and never inquired).

Other fundraisers either failed or "only a portion" of proceeds were directed towards the Burn Center - an unknown, non-public portion not obtainable by the general public.

Granted, the Burn Center, as a state facility, should've been funded by state dollars and NOT solely been a center funded through donations and, more importantly and primarily, Washington County tax dollars. The local tax base cannot support losing millions per year in the name of preserving civic pride.

This isn't a defense of the King's Daughters purchase. It's separate. The burn center, if it's separate, should've been financed separately. The "regular" DRMC facilities should absorb the conquest of the competition. That said, one hospital had to go - the community couldn't maintain it. With KDH failing in overtaking KDH, we'll never know IF it could've performed better and become a destination hospital for local patients despite having to absorb the indigent patients that seemed to come to DRMC over KDH.

Armchair quarterbacking is great spectator sport. But, the facts are that the Burn Center received those patients who often couldn't pay or were subsidized at levels below what could keep a Burn Center operating. With it in Jackson, we all should hope the state funds it.

The next question, if state funds flow forth in generosity, is why Greenville wasn't deserving in the eyes of Legislative leaders and the "rank and file." And, don't accept the pass the buck excuses from locally elected state leaders.

After all, they jump through hoops for likely to be sparsely attended "community centers" and museums.