Fulton County Approves Two Grady Hospital Resolutions (UPDATE 1)


(APN) ATLANTA — The Fulton County Board of Commissioners approved a pair of resolutions Wednesday, March 05, 2008, concerning funding and ethics at Grady Memorial Hospital, which as Atlanta Progressive News has previously reported, has been targeted for privatization by the business community.

The first resolution called on the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority (FDHA) to not reduce or eliminate any provisions of the funding agreement between the FDHA and the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation (GMHC), the nonprofit corporation created by FDHA to possibly take over management of the hospital system.

Section 3 of the funding agreement states before the execution of the lease agreement, the GMHC must obtain a written commitment from the business community that they will provide $200 million in capital improvements over four years to Grady Hospital.

The first payment should be $50 million, according to the funding agreement, to be paid immediately into escrow or in cash on or before execution.

It also calls on the business community to provide a written commitment it will undertake a “good faith, best efforts” campaign to raise an additional $100 million, beyond the $200 million, for capital improvements over three years.

But Section 5 of the funding agreement gives the FDHA the discretion to permit the GMHC to obtain less than the amounts of funds promised in Section 3 of the agreement.

Fulton’s resolution, authored by Commissioner Emma Darnell and Vice Chairman William “Bill” Edwards, asks the FDHA not exercise that discretion.

“Though you have the power… please don’t exercise it,” Darnell asked Wednesday.

The funding agreement is part of the lease agreement, which transfers power from the FDHA to the GMHC. In exchange, the business community is said to have promised verbally to give Grady millions in badly needed funds.

The FDHA approved the lease on January 28, 2008, and sent it to Fulton and DeKalb County Commissioners for their consent. Both consented February 20, 2008 and February 26, 2008, respectively.

The FDHA then approved the revised lease based on changes made by the Counties on March 1, 2008.

The second resolution, also authored by Darnell and Edwards, asks the FDHA to develop and adopt a code of ethics.

“You and I know that every three weeks, there is some…concern over ethics,” Darnell said of the FDHA.

“I don’t think it would do any harm,” she added of adopting a code of ethics. “It would erase concerns of some members of the public…if the [FDHA] would just consider a code of ethics that has a little higher standards” than what is outlined in the Georgia Hospital Authorities Act.

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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