ANALYSIS: Conflicts of Interest on New Grady Hospital Board

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(APN) ATLANTA — The Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority (FDHA) named 17 members to the new private, nonprofit Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation (GMHC) on March 14, 2008.

The new Board will be charged with raising more money for Grady Hospital, preserving its historic mission of serving the indigent and uninsured, and managing the hospital’s day-to-day operations.

Members will serve staggered terms of one, two, or three years and will choose its own members from now on. A condition of the lease agreement provided the FDHA would choose the inaugural members of the new Board.

As previously reported in Atlanta Progressive News, the GMHC held its first Meeting March 17, 2008, and named its Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. There will also be several Committees, the heads of which the GMHC has yet to name.

Those Committees are: Nominating, Governance, Finance, Audit, Quality and Ethics, and Compensation. The GMHC is expected to cement these Committees at its next Meeting on April 7, 2008.

A closer examination of each of the 17 new Members of the GMHC, reveals heavy influence of corporate leaders and a lack of community activists.

PETE CORRELL, CHAIRMAN

A.D. “Pete” Correll is the Chairman Emeritus of the Georgia-Pacific Corporation, a company he ran from 1993-2006. He served as Co-chair of the Greater Grady Task Force, a group formed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce in 2007 that recommended Grady Hospital shift to a private management structure.

The Brunswick, Georgia native is a darling of the business community. Georgia Trend Magazine named him the Most Respected Business Leader for 2006. He is the former Chair of the Boards of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Central Atlanta Progress.

He has also served or is still serving on the Boards of The Nature Conservancy, the Georgia Aquarium, The Carter Center, the University of Georgia Foundation, and the Medical Advisory Board of Emory University’s School of Medicine. He also headed the capital campaign for Emory’s Medical School.

Correll could face a conflict of interest if he continues to serve as head of the GMHC and in an advisory capacity to Emory.

Correll’s appointment to the new Grady Board is most troubling to many community activists who worry he will cut services at Grady in order to keep the hospital financially viable.

STATE REP. PAM STEPHENSON, VICE CHAIR

State Rep. Pam Stephenson is an attorney and a Democratic State Representative from Decatur, Georgia. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the GMHC, Stephenson is also the CEO of Grady Hospital and the Chair of the FDHA.

She is one of four members of the FDHA who will serve simultaneously on the GMHC.

Her service in multiple positions at Grady have angered some colleagues at the Georgia General Assembly who accuse her of having a conflict of interest by serving as CEO and on the GMHC.

Stephenson will remain as CEO at least until the execution of the lease, Correll said. There is currently no search underway for a new CEO.

ROBERT MILLER, SECRETARY

Miller is a retired partner of the Atlanta law firm, King & Spalding, which specializes in health care law and is an Adjunct Professor of Health Law at the Emory University School of Law.

Miller has served on the governing boards of the American Academy of Healthcare Attorneys, Georgia Academy of Hospital Attorneys, American Bar Association Health Law Forum, and the American Bar Association Committee on Federal Regulation of Securities.

THOMAS D. BELL

Bell is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Cousins Properties Inc., an Atlanta-based company that specializes in real estate development. Bell, like Correll, brings an impressive corporate resume to Grady.

Before arriving at Cousins Properties, he served as Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Advertising and as CEO of Burson-Marsteller and Young & Rubicam’s Diversified Communications Group. Bell spent ten years at Young & Rubicam Inc. before retiring as Chairman and CEO.

He also served as Vice Chairman of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Executive Vice President of Ball Corporation, President and CEO of the Hudson Institute, and Chairman of the Board for the Center for Naval Analysis.

He also served in the Reagan Administration, chairing the Committee on the Next Agenda, which focused on priorities for President Reagan’s second term. Bell also served early in his career as Chief of Staff for former US Sen. William Brock (R-TN).

Bell is a Member of several prominent Boards, including Emory Healthcare, Regal Entertainment Group, AGL Resources Inc., the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

He also served as Chairman for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber’s Quality Growth Task Force.

Like Correll, Bell’s appointment to the GMHC is troublesome to some activists because of his relationship to Emory.

In fact, Cousins Properties, with partner Emory, owns 50 percent of the Emory Crawford Long Medical Office Tower in Atlanta.

State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) tacked on an amendment to SB 353, which “provides that certain individuals shall not serve on a Hospital Authority Board or a nonprofit organization managing a hospital on behalf of a Hospital Authority.”

Fort’s amendment goes further, stating, “no individual shall be eligible to serve in a governing capacity of a public hospital if that individual is an employee or director of or has a financial interest in a competitor of the public hospital.”

The Georgia State Senate passed SB 353 on Feb 21, 2008, and it should be interesting to see how it applies to any members of the GMHC and how the new Board will deal with the issue.

F. DUANE ACKERMAN

Ackerman served as the final Chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based BellSouth. He holds a Master’s degree in Business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ackerman chaired the Board of Georgia Research Alliance and served on the Board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

MICHAEL B. RUSSELL

Russell is the CEO of H.J. Russell & Co., a real estate and construction firm founded by his father Herman in 1952. Russell served as the other Co-chair of the Greater Grady Task Force last year.

He has served or is still serving on the Boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Committee of the Grady Board of Visitors, and Trinity Schools Board of Directors, as well as the Emory University Board of Visitors Executive Committee.

LOUIS SULLIVAN

Sullivan served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1989-1993 under the first President Bush and is the Founding President of the Morehouse School of Medicine.

He is or has been Trustee of the National Health Museum and Board Member for Medical Education for South African Blacks, Africare, and the Southern Center for International Studies.

Sullivan’s ties to Morehouse could represent a conflict of interest while he serves on the GMHC.

ROBERT BURROUGHS

Burroughs is a DeKalb County real estate attorney and partner of the Burroughs Johnson Hopewell, LLC law firm based in Atlanta.

He received his law degree from Emory University.

JOE ROGERS

Rogers is the CEO of Waffle House and is a founding Co-chairman of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Commission for a New Georgia.

Rogers is serving on or has served on Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Foundation (where he received his Bachelor’s degree), Associates of the Harvard Business School (where he received his MBA), and the Woodruff Arts Center.

BEVERLY HALL

Hall is the Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. She chairs the Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Urban Superintendents and also serves on the Boards of the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, Communities in Schools of Atlanta, and Junior Achievement of Atlanta.

JAMES STEPHENSON

Stephenson is CEO of Yancy Bros. Co., the oldest dealership of Caterpillars in the nation. He is a current or former Member of the Boards of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA, a pro-roads, anti-public transit group), the Metro Atlanta Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Trust for Public Land.

State Rep. Vincent Fort and activist Dianne Mathiowetz have criticized Mr. Stephenson for donating to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which ran a series of ads attacking US Sen. John Kerry during his 2004 US Presidential run.

REV. JOSEPH ROBERTS

Roberts is the retired pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church and is one of three community representatives on the GMHC.

ASIA MUSTAKEEM

Mustakeem is an Atlanta attorney and another community representative.

PIERLUIGI MANCINI

Mancini is an Atlanta doctor who served on former Gov. Roy Barnes’s Advisory Council for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse and is the third community representative on the GMHC.

SANDRA HOLLIDAY, DR. DANIEL WHITNER, AND MICHAEL HOLLIS

These three serve on the FDHA. Holliday is a retired hospital administrator, Whitner is an endodontist, and Hollis is an attorney.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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Our syndication policy was updated June 2007. For more information on how to syndicate Atlanta Progressive News content, please visit: http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/extras/syndicate.html

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