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Shame at Grady Hospital- A National Tragedy

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Shame! Pam Stephenson and Grady Board fleece Grady

ATLANTA-   Grady hospital is at the epicenter of the nation's public health crisis, and now it is spiralling down. First, it was converted to a private hospital that retains $750 M a year in public financing. Now, the payoffs continue.

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For years, I have urged the State Senate to hold hearings into ongoing and worsening corruption at Grady Memorial Hospital.  The hospital is going broke, but wealthy contractors continue to get rich on the backs of Grady patients.

Now, the absolute worse has happened.  Pam Stephenson, a person with absolutely no experience in running a hospital, fired the highly qualified Otis Story in January 2008, and then took over the extremely lucrative CEO position, for her self.  Give Otis Story the same deal at least he was experienced.

Pam, your temerity in capturing this position was incredible.  Talk to the Hawks & Falcons, they need this type of thinking.  For you to have negotiated this flagrantly unethical masterpiece behind closed doors shows that you never had the Grady patient’s interests at heart.  

The board claimed that this would be a new era in Open Government, and Grady would be transparent.  Hello!  Instead, Grady is back in the smoke-filled rooms, dealing out public money without restraint.  The board wanted Pam to deliver a private hospital.  She delivered.  Now, Pam is this the payoff?  Pam and the board put personal profit before patients.

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This new board suppose to be the big business thinkers, is this how they made there fortunes?  Maybe we need to have a corruption reality show, no need to audition.

I wonder how this board became a non profit so fast.  It was with the help of John Lewis.  I also wonder why this type of influence didn’t step in when the crisis started at Grady.  The influential sure know when to get involved with certain events that impact their political livelihoods. 

The AJC reports that Grady officials are furious over this deal, and well they should be.  Many trustees never heard of the contract, much less approved it.  How did this happen? 

State legislators went through the roof. "I think it's appalling," said Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta). "It is a sweetheart deal done in secret." Lynne Riley, a member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, criticized the Authority for executing what she said was a secret contract.  Public outrage over the deal could endanger some county funding for the hospital, she said.  Why not ask for an investigation Lynn and Mike?

Mr. Jacobs, Ms. Riley, it is time to hold on the record public hearings.  We must get to the bottom of the endless corruption.  It must be a holiday for corruption, everybody is on it.  The public now has no confidence in either the old board or the new board.  Most legislators appeared to vote for the Grady deal without any understanding of what is at stake.

Let’s look at what’s ahead.  We must now see if this new board is for the people or are they what they are, big business.  When I attend the board meetings I do not see a representative from the community.  Nobody that comes to any of our community meeting or anybody else’s I know of is on this board

With more hospitals closing at an alarming rate, just look in New Jersey.  More than 62 public facilities have been closed.  Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in New Jersey is fighting for its life as we read.  We have to ask why?  This is not just a Grady thing, this is a forget the poor people thing.  Grady is in the wrong place, must of these facilities are.  Look what happened to all of the low income housing in the downtown matrix. 

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Pam gave away the billion dollar hospital asset to the private board.  The land that Grady sits on is even more valuable than the hospital itself, and it appears the true motivation of the industry captains has not been to save Grady, but to gut it.  I still see a twin 60 story tower complex where Grady presently sits.

Why did Ms. Stephenson go along with this ill-advised privatization when the people were against the entire move?  Now it is clear.  Stephenson agreed to take the heat, in exchange for a secret deal to giveaway $1.2 Million dollars as a golden parachute.

The hypocrisy: Stephenson denied Otis Story the same golden parachute she is claiming for herself.  Unlike Stephenson, Story was eminently qualified for the CEO Job, with a long and lustrous history of turning around public hospitals.  

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