The Fight for UMC Moves to Carson City

 In a highly-contentious split vote, the Clark County Commission has pushed a bill draft to the Legislature calling for a governance change that will privatize University Medical Center.

The change in governance comes while the County continues to putter without a long-term solution to the hospital’s revenue needs. And it’s clear the new chairman, Steve Sisolak,       wants nothing to do with any revenue discussion since he’s more concerned about running for Governor in 2014.

The bill draft was approved 4 to 3 with Sisolak making the motion and Commissioners Mary Beth Scow, Susan Brager and Larry Brown joining him in support. Brager and Scow are up  for election next year, which will be good to remember. Brown actually said he didn’t think the governance change would impact the hospital’s sustainability. Yet he voted for it after  getting duped by Sisolak into thinking this Chamber of Commerce-backed move would be somehow open the floodgates to wealthy donors.

Simply put, UMC has already garnered a $5 million gift from a major donor under its current county governance. And good luck getting the tens of millions that went to California  institutions that Scow rattled off in her nonsensical prepared remarks Tuesday.

We’re thrilled Commissioners Lawrence Weekly, Chris Giunchigliani and Tom Collins supported us and tried their best to the bitter end of this 10-week fiasco to rein in the overzealous attempts by right wing organizations backed by corporations who would love to take over the hospital. If you’d like to read a good account of their problems with the proposal, check out this insightful piece by Steve Sebelius in today’s Review-Journal.

So now we’re on to step two — Carson City — where two former legislators on the Commission can go up and testify against what the slim majority determined. And then it’s up to the Democrats running both houses of the Legislature to decide whether privatizing the only safety net hospital in the state makes any sense. Maybe with a little luck, the Legislature will do what the County is unwilling to do — discuss and fix the long-term revenue problem by tackling a community-wide solution.

That’s what we support. The community needs to come together if they want to save the hospital that goes above and beyond for EVERYONE every day.

And that’s why we’ll continue to fight against a governance change that even Commissioner Brown said “This governance change won’t have any impact on the hospital’s sustainability.”


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