I am appalled that our “elected” board members for the New River Monticello-Big Lake Hospital are even considering changing the governance of our district’s hospital without a unanimous vote in favor of it. If anything should be changed it should be the hospital’s bylaws that permit a “majority” vote in favor of such sweeping changes. It clearly violates the purpose of having all districts represented. It violates the rights of the other districts involved when a majority vote can take away the rights of governance from the descending districts.
1. We need to realize that this new 501c3 will not be our company; it will not be business the same as always. When this new board gives themselves the right to appoint their own board and remove your elected board — we lose our access to the board and what it is doing. We will lose our right to know what is going on with the business we built, supported and maintained. This 501c3 will have minimal elected positions but they will have no rights, they will be bound to the 501c3’s privacy rules, and they will not be fully informed members of the board.
2. How can the new 501c3 possibly do this? If our elected board unwittingly signs the organizational documents, that would essentially be handing over our rights and our business into the hands of the new 501c3. Our elected board would be castrating themselves and us in the process. Why would they do such a thing? Either they haven’t read the organizational documents of the proposed 501c3, or they believe that they will remain on the appointed board — think again,
Keep in mind that not all 501c3’s have this kind of language in their organizations. I talked to an individual that is highly respected with strong credentials in the business end of the health care industry and he said basically said that “he’s never seen an ‘appointed’ 501c3 board in the hospital industry as far as he can recall. The hospitals have always been governed by an ‘elected’ board. The reason being — it kept them honest. It keeps things public. It keeps the board from becoming a good-ol’-boys club where the CEO of the hospital controls the board.”
An elected board represents us, the district. An appointed board represents the one who appointed them. Who appoints them? They appoint themselves. Ask yourselves what can and does happen inside of the good-ol’-boys clubs. Then ask yourselves how so many CEO’s are given these huge bonuses even though the company lost revenue.
“Appointed” boards and CEOs have a symbiotic relationship, one that allows them to scratch each other’s back. I’m not saying this will happen but this tells you one of the reasons why you want to keep your “elected” board in place.
3. Something else we need to realize is that we are being led to believe that our hospital with all its newest technology, assets and structures, has no dollar value so we should just give it away to the 501c3 for $1. I’m here to say, that this simply is not true, our hospital is of great dollar value. If we chose to sell, we would stand to make a profit over and above its debt and the profits from the sale would come back to each of our districts.
But that is not what we are being led to believe. So, ask yourselves a) who is telling us it is worth nothing, and b) why would someone want us to believe our hospital is hardly worth giving away? This much I know from experience; when a business is sold, most often the buyer brings in their own executive team and fires the previous owner’s team. Think about it.
4. Another thing about the language in 501c3’s organizational documents — they don’t normally take ownership of the assets of someone else’s business without paying a fair price for the business. But in this case, that is what will happen.
For the exchange of $1, they will essentially own everything we have paid for. They will have the right to sell our assets, take over our accounts receivable, and whatever they took that isn’t making them money, they reserve the right to give back to us. Insane way for us to do business, don’t you think! Give away what is making a profit and being forced to take back what is losing money.
5. Our districts are being told that we will agree to co-sign for whatever the new 501c3 wants to do. I’m sorry, but I won’t even co-sign for my kids’ cars and I love them and have control over their lives as minors, so why would I want to be held liable for a 501c3 that I don’t love and I have no control over?
In closing, I give praise to those board members who have voted against the change in governance to a 501c3 and call on those who have voted otherwise to explain their actions to the people who voted for them.
Also at this same time, I am calling on the cities and townships involved to take a serious interest in this since they are named as a third party with its taxpayers but are the first party when it comes to who is footing the bill.
Note: I am not against selling the hospital nor am I against partnering with a related group, I am against losing my rights as a taxpayer to something that smacks of taxation without representation. — Carolyn Fowler, Big Lake