Wednesday, January 13, 2016



Sorry for the delay in posting, folks; research takes time.

It truly saddens me to conclude that our city council does not have OUR best interests in mind.  I only hope this latest debacle impresses upon you all the importance of keeping the "governance" of Memorial Hospital AS IS.

Here's some back in the day information about the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and bullshit allegations of conflicting interests.  

Pay especial attention to the late Ted Eastburn's statements and about integrity - his untimely demise was such a loss for our city...and hella convenient for the Memorial powers-that-be.

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Hospital board jobs eyed/ 2 City Council members' appointments
by Raquel Rutledge

Four months ago, the City Council appointed Councilman Ted Eastburn, a cardiologist, to the Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees.

Now, as his term is about to start, the council is reconsidering his appointment, as well as Councilwoman Linda Barley's, citing possible conflicts of interest.

The council plans to meet in closed session next week to discuss the appointments.
The issue has sparked debate among council members about how active a role they should have in overseeing the profitable city- owned hospital and where to draw the line on potential conflicts of interest.

The council/board of trustees would rely on a citizens' advisory committee for expertise on industry issues, Rivera said.

Makepeace, however, said council members ought not sit on the hospital board at all.
"I think that when we have council members serving on there, we tend to politicize the administration of the hospital," Makepeace said.

Politics often has crept into the debate about Memorial in recent years as council members fought about the idea of tapping Memorial's huge profits and reserves to pay for city services and about its expansion plans.

Some fear Eastburn can't be impartial because of his history with the 390-bed hospital.
Eastburn is one of nine heart surgeons in the Pikes Peak Cardiology group who lost emergency-room rotation privileges last summer because of rumors the group planned to open a heart clinic to compete with Memorial.

However, he retains all other medical privileges at Memorial.

To avoid a conflict, Eastburn said he would simply withdraw from issues relating to the hospital's cardiology care.

He said the board needs people with expertise in the medical field.

"Cardiology is one aspect to health care, but Memorial Hospital does a lot more," Eastburn said.

"My commitment to (the hospital) is unwavering. It is clear, publicly and privately, my level of support for that institution."

Some, including Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, say the council should stay out of hospital operations, simply approving such things as the budget and capital improvements.

Others, chiefly Councilmen Lionel Rivera and Bill Guman, say the council should replace the 15-member board of trustees altogether and oversee everything, as it does for the city-owned Colorado Springs Utilities.

"It brings more accountability to the Memorial Hospital board," Rivera said. "By having that direct link from the owners of the hospital - the voters of Colorado Springs - to the City Council, makes the board more accountable.

"If there weren't any council members on the board, there wouldn't be any direct link to the owners of the hospital."

Rivera compares it to operation of city-owned parking lots, golf courses, recreation centers and other enterprises.

"The City Council has direct say on all the enterprises other than Memorial Hospital," he said. As for Barley, her husband, Leonard Barley, is the medical director at Cedar Springs Behavioral Health System, a private, for- profit, mental health complex which contracts to provide Memorial Hospital with emergency psychiatric care, if needed.

He called the complaint of a conflict "ridiculous."

"I have nothing to do with Memorial Hospital," he said.

Makepeace and other council members said they would wait to hear all sides of the issue before deciding whether Eastburn or Barley should be denied positions on the board.

- Raquel Rutledge covers city government and may be reached at 476- 1605 or

Story editor Bill Vogrin; headline by Barry Noreen
@CUTLINE: Eastburn: Says board needs his expertise.
@CUTLINE: Barley: Husband directs another medical center.
Copyright 1999

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Memorial's leash/ Unless city-owned hospital is sold, it warrants

We'll reserve judgment on whether Springs City Council members Linda Barley and Ted Eastburn are a little too close to city-owned Memorial Hospital to take their seats on its board as scheduled. What's of far greater concern to us right now is Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace's troubling view, expressed in a Gazette report Tuesday, that no council member should sit on the hospital's board at all.

Ostensibly, there's a question about a conflict of interest for Barley and Eastburn - in Barley's case because her husband runs a private mental-health facility that contracts with Memorial; in the case of Eastburn, a cardiologist, because of differences Memorial has had with him and some fellow cardiologists over their private practice.

Supposedly, that could render them unfit for joining Memorial's other council-appointed board members in riding herd over the profitable hospital. The point is debatable; arguably it's their very exposure to the industry, certainly in Eastburn's case, that qualifies them.

It might also be something of a stretch to suppose Barley can't be an objective board member because her husband's organization provides Memorial some emergency psychiatric care. Perhaps it's a stretch as well to suppose Eastburn would hold a grudge because his Pikes Peak Cardiology group lost its emergency-room rotation privileges at the hospital last year amid unfounded rumors his practice was going to open a heart clinic in competition with Memorial, which aggressively guards its market.

In any event, Barley and Eastburn, along with the rest of the council, already hold ultimate authority over the hospital. So, for their peers to reconsider these months-old appointments to a subordinate board seems moot.

More pressing: What are the citizen-owners of Memorial to make of the mayor's apparent desire to further distance the hospital from its bosses at City Hall - given what is an already estranged relationship?

"I think that when we have council members serving on there, we tend to politicize the administration of the hospital," she said.

We're not sure what the mayor means by "politicize." Is she talking about attempts by some, such as Councilman Lionel Rivera, to get the hospital to share its hefty cash reserves with other community programs? Is she talking about concerns over the hospital's expansion plans, and how they might affect neighborhoods? How about flak the hospital drew over the big bonuses it has awarded senior administrators in recent years? Aren't those the kinds of things that rightly concern the citizens of Colorado Springs, and for which they should have a seat at the table at their hospital?

Rivera has the right perspective: "If there weren't any council members on the board, there wouldn't be any direct link to the owners of the hospital."

As noted in Tuesday's Gazette report, Rivera and Councilman Bill Guman would even go so far as to scrap Memorial's current board and have the council itself serve in that role. That's worth looking into. After all, the council serves quite well in just such an oversight capacity for a far larger city-owned enterprise, Colorado Springs Utilities.

We've long argued in this column that city government doesn't belong in the hospital business to begin with. And with significant interest by the private sector in buying Memorial - proceeds could fund sweeping local improvements while the hospital continues to serve us - a sale has a real practical appeal it.

But so long as the hospital is part of the public's portfolio, and thus the property of every resident of Colorado Springs, it must be held accountable.

Copyright 1999

Eastburn withdraws Memorial board bid: Amid allegations of possible conflicts of interest, Colorado Springs City Councilman and cardiologist Ted Eastburn has withdrawn his application to serve on Memorial Hospital's board of trustees. "In regard to perception, it ends up being reality, for better or worse," Eastburn said. "It's just a fact. If you think you have a conflict and you're not sure, that enters the arena of a conflict."
Council to revisit Memorial board picks
by Amy Fletcher

Members of Memorial Hospital's board of trustees approve all financial matters for the city-owned hospital, but they don't necessarily have a background in finance.

The board selects and appoints Memorial's executive director, but only one member, chairman Harlan Loomas, has hospital management experience.

That is not unusual for nonprofit boards; similar statements apply to some board members for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. Management company Centura Health, however, has the final say on many Penrose matters, similar to the Colorado Springs City Council's authority over Memorial.

Council members have questioned the ability of Memorial's board to guide the future of the city-owned hospital.

"There may not be a problem with the current board. My position is that we need to be assured that the board is constituted ... with people with particular expertise," said Councilman Ted Eastburn. "What prompted all of this to begin with was concern over dwindling payment to hospitals."

At a council meeting last week, Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace said a new hospital board could be in place within two months once new criteria are established. The City Council, which appoints Memorial's trustees, has no formal criteria for selecting Memorial board members.

Some council members said business and financial experience is a plus. However, "each council member has their own list of questions that they ask candidates and it's very subjective," said Councilman Bill Guman, who has interviewed previous board candidates.

Hospital bylaws require:

  • The board should include five to 15 members and include a broad representation of the community.
  • The president of the Memorial Hospital auxiliary will be a member.
  • Each member will be appointed by the City Council and serve for three-year terms.
  • Members should have "knowledge beneficial to the governance of the hospital as well as interest in and willingness to take an active part in governing the operations and encouraging the development of Memorial Hospital."
Michael Annison, a Denver-based hospital consultant who has worked for Memorial, has a different view of hospital board members.

In his book, "Trust Matters," he says hospital board members were selected in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s because of their community contributions. Hospitals were stable, and board membership recognized outstanding community service, "not something that imposed onerous new duties and obligations."

Faced with growing competition and consolidation as well as shrinking reimbursements, Annison says board members should:

Serve the community rather than represent the interest of any single group.

For example, Annison has been critical of city administrators serving on Memorial's board as a possible conflict of interest. Politics often has crept into the debate about Memorial in recent years as council members discussed expanding the hospital and tapping Memorial's profits and reserves to pay for city services.

City Councilman Lionel Rivera, however, said council members were appointed to the board because hospital trustees and administrators previously were not cooperative in carrying out council directives.

Should have the knowledge, wisdom and experience to identify key strategic issues and contribute to resolving them.

Loomas recommended to Makepeace that hospital board members have experience in mergers or acquisitions, experience as an executive or board member of a major purchaser of health care and experience on other boards.

Should be curious and not rely on rote answers to increasingly complex issues.

Next week: Rich Laden on real estate.

Memorial trustees

  • Linda Barley, city councilwoman
  • Curtis Brown, financial consultant
  • Lena Farmer, insurance broker
  • Juan Garcia, former budgeting officer
  • Thomas Hathaway, retired radiologist
  • Harlan Loomas, former health care executive
  • Ellen May, president of Memorial auxiliary
  • Jim Mullen, city manager
  • David Nickerson, head of city enterprises
  • Lionel Rivera, city councilman
  • Karen Schwartz, president of neighborhood association and financial consultant
- Staff writer Amy Fletcher may be reached at 636-0190 or
Copyright 2000

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