Speech by Julie Inouye,
delivered to the Town Hall meeting
called to oppose the closure of programs at the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital
My name is Julie Inouye and I am the founder of Save Our Marina Hospital and have had the privilege to be mentored by Community Health Council, Consumers Union, SEIU and AGENDA and all of the other healthcare advocates here tonight who had the foresight to be involved in the purchasing agreements of both Daniel Freeman Hospitals to Tenet. Our communities will be forever grateful for your wisdom, support and assistance in helping us Save Our Marina Hospital. Together we are a village.
When Tenet purchased both hospitals from the Sisters of Carondolet, they took a non-profit hospital to a for profit status. This is when the State of CA., Justice Department, and Attorney General Bill Lockyer became involved. By law, the AG must review nonprofit hospital transactions to ensure that they are consistent with standards set by the legislature and state charitable trust laws.
These healthcare advocates pushed hard for many legal conditions to be written in as part of the purchase agreement between Tenet and the People of the State of CA. For Tenet to make any changes or plans for the future of these two hospitals, they agreed to these conditions.
One of these conditions was for a Comprehensive Planning Process to take place 90 days after the purchase agreement was finalized on Dec. 2001, which would have begun this process on or before June 2002.
That was over two years ago.
The Comprehensive Planning Process was a guarantee that the community, medical staff, hospital governing board, elected officials, healthcare agencies and County EMS were all involved to decide the future of these hospitals. Together, they would determine what the future course of the hospitals would be and the impact to the communities involved.
When Tenet tried to close our Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital, The AG first put Tenet on notice on July 11, 2002 that they had not met the conditions of the purchase agreement. On the same day, Tenet's written response and memorandum to the medical staff and Employees was
"The closure of DFMH continues on schedule, as planned. You may have read that the Office of the Attorney General has taken the position that we have not complied with certain conditions related to the acquisition of the hospital and that the scheduled closing may be delayed. We believe that we are in full compliance with the conditions pertaining to the closure and have provided additional evidence of our compliance to the attorney general's office so that it (The Justice Department of the State of CA.) may reassess its stated position.
On July 16, 2002 AG Bill Lockyer put out the Press Release that he had sued Tenet in the case of the PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CA VS. TENET HEALTHSYSTEM DFH, INC. a corporation; Tenet Healthcare Corporation, a corporation. citing failure of Tenet Healthcare Corp. of meeting public interest conditions agreed to when acquiring the nonprofit facilities.
Tenet has broken important promises made when it acquired the non-profit Daniel Freeman facilities in Inglewood and Marina, Lockyer said. Tenet was supposed to consult with various individuals and groups before making decisions, (in our case about the closure of the Marina Hospital). Instead, the corporation let people know about the decision after it was already made and without the required community input. The attorney general said.
SO THE BIG QUESTION IS:
HAVE YOU THE COMMUNITY LEADERS, MEDICAL STAFF, ELECTED OFFICIALS AND OTHERS, BEEN INVOLVED IN A TWO WAY COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS ABOUT THESE PROPOSED ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES?
OBVIOUSLY NOT, OR WE WOULD NOT BE HERE TONIGHT.
After - we won the preliminary injunction Tenet finally began their COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS -
(HOLD UP 2 BINDERS) Here are the transcripts of 32 different subsequent meetings with people Mr. Koenig said he had already met with.
SO LET'S FOLLOW THE PATTERN
In a recent memo
From: Harris F. Koenig, Chief Executive Officer
Dated: Nov.5, 2003
To: the Employees, Medical Staff and Volunteers at Freeman Memorial Subject: Organizational Changes
After careful consideration we have decided to make several organizational changes including closure of the Fitness Center, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Audiology, Pacemaker Clinic, Congestive Heart Failure Clinic and the Outpatient Imaging Center. These Services will be discontinued effective December 5, 2003.
SO MR. KOENIG, CEO OF BOTH DANIEL FREEMAN HOSPITALS, REPRESENTING A TENET HOSPITAL, PLEASE SHOW US THE VOLUMES OF MEETINGS THAT YOU HAVE HAD FOR THE COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING PROCESS. I'M SURE THE AG'S OFFICE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT MR. JOSE GOMEZ WOULD BE INTERESTED TO GET COPIES OF THEM AND SO WOULD ALL OF US.
In a LA Times article published on Nov.12, 2003, Tenet CEO Apologizes for Firm's Behavior
By Debora Vrana, Times Staff Writer:
Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s new chief executive, Trevor Fetter, did some apologizing Tuesday for the company's past behavior.
"Something went very wrong at Tenet," Fetter said, adding that the Santa Barbara-based hospital chain had been an "arrogant company." But he blamed Tenet's problems on its former executives, not the company's hospitals.
We welcome all of you to our website at www.SOMH.org to read all about Tenet throughout the nation. Tenet's pattern is laid out much to clearly -- and there ongoing state and federal investigations regarding MediCare, MediCal fraud, unnecessary heart surgeries, and other issues too numerous to report.
Mr. Koenig & Tenet, you hold the responsibility in your hands to do the right thing. If these patients want these programs give them a holiday gift and prolong their lives. Any good business lives up to their promises, fulfills their legal obligations and listens to their customers.
Mr. Koenig - your move! The ball is in Tenet's court.