Lawmaker, hospital execs publicly clash over business dealings

Memorial Health System has found itself squarely in the news this week after a Colorado Springs city councilman called for an investigation into the hospital's business dealings and medical policies.

In a newsletter emailed Sunday, Councilman Tim Leigh said the Colorado Springs hospital's senior management should be placed on administrative leave during a probe into its real estate deals, cash-on-hand amounts and emergency department profitability, among other issues, reported The Gazette.

Leigh said many local physicians have brought concerns to him about Memorial's business dealings and medical policies, saying they don't believe Memorial truly wants to employ doctors and grow the hospital. "They all recount the same basic story--they can't negotiate with the administration because they will not 'get with the program,' and they don't dare 'go public for fear of reprisal,'" Leigh wrote in his newsletter.

Because Memorial wouldn't provide answers to these concerns, Leigh said he decided to make those issues public, KRDO reported. "The problem has been that I have a very broad-based constituent group who says you can't get those answers," Leigh said. "Other people have tried. I've tried and have been unable to do so. My primary concern is to be an advocate for the citizens and do the job that I was hired to do, to oversee the city's enterprises."

Leigh added that Memorial hasn't found anyone to lease a new $3 million surgery center that requires annual lease payments of $750,000 until a tenant is found. He also questioned whether Memorial senior leaders would be paid retention bonuses or severance payments to compel them to stay with the hospital while it continues leasing discussion with University of Colorado Health.

In response, Memorial board chairman Jim Moore called Leigh's comments "anonymous rumors and innuendo." Rather than publicly disputing Leigh's specific accusations, Moore said the hospital would discuss the matter directly with the city council, according to the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

However, Moore did say that "the facts tell a different story," and that Leigh's comments were made "without any attempt to substantiate the claims or understand the matters in context." Moore added that Leigh never discussed the matter with Memorial leadership, KRDO noted.

To learn more:
- see the KRDO article
- read the Colorado Springs Business Journal article
- check out The Gazette article