Privatization

Florida Hospitals Must Justify Tax-Supported Status

They may be required to support themselves, in other words

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There was nothing wrong or unusual about the board of directors of the Bert Fish Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, pursuing the take-over of their public hospital by Adventist Health System. Their misdeed was pursuing a sale to Adventist in utter secrecy.

The first time the planned merger bubbled up to public attention was when the Bert Fish board approved it in May 2010. By then, the board had conducted 21 closed-door meetings over 16 months. Those meetings violated Florida's open government law, a district judge later decided as he scuttled the $80 million deal. It didn't help that some directors would also have been direct beneficiaries of the sale of a public asset had the merger gone through.