On December 8, three Common Cause Board members: Mary Ann Digman, Steve Carter and James M. Kadlecek met at the County offices to examine the materials which had been collected pursuant to our open records request.


While we are still examining some of the materials….specifically the policies regarding indigent care, we can report the following:


  1. Invoices provided to us indicate that $696,000 in fees were paid for consulting and legal fees. It appears that $443,000 was paid to Joe Lupica’s firm, $50,000 to a mid-west firm that did a valuation study, and approximately $206,000 to the local law firm headed by Matt Holt.
  2. Province has provided a set of policies labeled “Accounts Receivable-Expanded Care Services”. This document was marked as being received on September 28, which is about three weeks late…since their lease required submission of these policies within 90 days of the date they took possession (June 2).  We are not certain if this represents all their policies regarding indigent and uninsured patient care. Many specific questions yet need to be answered.
  3. Province has filed a report (in essence a billing), indicating that they have provided $8,406,304 in expanded care services for the 4 months ending September 30, 2004. Apparently, they expect to be reimbursed by City-County for $7,652,118.  Approximately $5.3 million of that would come from federal sole provider funds, and $2.3 from County expanded care funds (the set-aside from the MMC sale proceeds for indigent care). No information was provided in the report regarding the number of patients served, nor was there any detail regarding types of medical services provided, etc. When the County PIO was asked about this, he referred us to Sylvia Sierra in the Health Department.
  4. Mary Ann Digman indicates that there are some differences between these policies and those that MMCInc. utilized. She is analyzing this and will report further.
  5. When we asked about a final summary accounting of the transaction, we were told by the PIO that to his knowledge, none has been completed.
  6. When we asked about any official notifications of the County by Province regarding their pending sale-merger with LifePoint Hospitals, Inc., The PIO indicated he had inquired of County Manager, Accounting, and Legal…and no such  notifications have been received. All that could be provided to us was a copy of a lengthy news release.
  7. When we asked if the County Manager, in his capacity as a Board Member of Province-Las Cruces  Inc., had reported to the Board of Commissioners on the activities of Province, the PIO indicated he knew of no such report having been given.


Bottom Line: There remain many questions about the care being provided to indigent and uninsured patients, about Province’s operation of the facility, about their pending sale to LifePoint, and about the use of proceeds from the transaction. We will continue the inquiry.


Respectfully, JMK