A Wounded Animal

on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

Hello Friends:

Several months ago, I wrote to you about the County determining it was not moving forward with the construction of a new hospital but instead would receive proposals from other companies and/or hospital systems that would potentially lead to the County exiting the healthcare business. This put the spinmeisters supporting the status quo in overdrive. They immediately got together and began a process to confuse and confound the issue and make staying in the hospital business appear to be the correct choice. Over the last four months, the Weems Board and Management has done the following:

  1. Cooked the books, using a spreadsheet with adjusted numbers vs. a financial accounting system to deliver consistent numbers. Taken a $690,000 forgiveness of loan debt and changed it into fake Income, changed the reserve for bad debt from historically accurate numbers to numbers that immediately added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Income side erroneously and used Grant Money to beef up income all without comment, footnotes or restatements as required under mandated CPA standards. Made claims about being profitable when they are not.
  2. Applied for and received a technical assistance Agreement from Texas A & M that runs for a year and is designed to buy them time from a mandate for an early decision to select another operator. To receive this help, you must be one of five lucky winners in desperate shape. Yes, we have that distinction. This was done without County Commission Approval and involves no funds to Weems. Their help is limited to telephone assistance with one on-site wrap-up visit in December.
  3. Weems Hospital Board, on its own contracted for a study that says great things about Weems local economic impact on the community. This was not a freebie, they spent thousands on this defensive move. No Commissioner involvement! Also disingenuously included EMS with their 40 plus employees who are not even under threat and will be remaining regardless, in an attempt to make their point.
  4. Not met with Sacred Heart again or in any way worked with them to understand and improve their initial stellar proposal with skin in the game.
  5. Management has sought ways to portray conditions as improving without demonstrated initiatives by fudging financial constants that favor Weems.
  6. Refused to answer questions unless they are readily available in existing documents. This means they have gone into Turtle mode in an attempt to keep us from uncovering even more damaging information.
  7. Is quietly, but secretly, continuing to get construction drawings ready for a breakout. Yes, they have been spending money not approved by the Franklin County Commission since they were told to stand down.
  8. Is the subject of a serious ACHA allegation.

The Weems Hospital Board and leadership are afraid the more you know, the worse it is for them. They have become a wounded animal fighting for their survival. What about your own survival? In the application to Texas A & M Weems stated occupancy at .93 per night. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s bad enough, and is consistent with the CCFC stating less than one body in bed per night. Don’t let anyone fool you that somehow Weems magically turned a corner last year; they did not.

Please read the attached Letter to the Editor in the current Apalachicola Times we wrote and demand your own answers from your elected officials.

Lastly, we are ending our 2020 Membership Campaign. Please, please consider joining and send us your dues payment today, while you are still thinking about it. Remember to add your email address with your check to the address below. Your numbers and financial support are vital to the CCFC continuing being your county watchdog. Dues are not tax deductible.

The very best to you all!

Thank you.

Allan J. Feifer

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc.

P.O. Box 990
Eastpoint, Florida 32328
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(850) 653-5571

“The Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, Inc. serves as a citizens’ advocate to ensure that our Franklin County governments are more open, affordable, efficient, and responsive to our citizens. The organization seeks to hold public officials accountable for their actions in the administration of their duties and in their fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers.”

Commissioner Bert Boldt - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 519-4966

Commissioner Smokey Parrish - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8790

Commissioner Ricky Jones - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8861

Chairman Noah Lockley - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-4452

Commissioner William Massey - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - 653-8861

Please feel free to redistribute this email to your friends!

I Have Seen the Future of Healthcare in Franklin County

Things used to be more cut and dried than they are today. We didn’t always agree, but we got along better, avoiding rank partisanship. Unfortunately, we have entered an Orwellian age. Two plus two will always equal four no matter what your political or social proclivity. A decision not to select Sacred Heart as the replacement for county-led healthcare meets this kind of 2 plus 2 logic.

Last week, I needed to take my wife for urgent medical care; fortunately, she’ll be fine. In the past we’d drive to Tallahassee and go to Capital Regional’s Emergency Room for really concerning events. This time we decided to try their new ER standalone clinic that just opened up in Southwood as we were not concerned about imminent death, and it was closer. This is the future of healthcare. Everyone in Franklin County needs to visit a standalone Emergency Room. The experience was fantastic and would be very similar to the experience you could expect if we partnered with Sacred Heart and the county builds one in Franklin County. First, we were seen and triaged immediately, no tedious check-in, that came later when the immediate medical concerns were taken care of. Two highly trained RN’s inserted an IV line. Next, a portable X-Ray machine was wheeled into our spotless room. Then, various vitals, history and other issues were assessed and then the Doctor came in not only with a smile, but also with Board Certification in Emergency Medicine, not so at Weems. After looking at the XRay which was read within 10 minutes and blood work shortly thereafter, he felt the need for a CAT Scan and my wife went right down the hall to their new, million dollar plus CAT Scan machine. In contrast, Weems has an antiquated CAT Scan which is not able to reveal myriad diagnostic issues. Which would you want for your loved one? Finally, it was time for the admin stuff. An aide wheels in a cart with an iPad on it and as if by magic, a woman video chats with my wife, takes pictures of ID and Insurance information and poof! It was finished. Shortly thereafter, we are ready to go home barely two and a half hours from walking in. Color us impressed! ER’s like this one are an extension of their parent hospital, therefore had there been a need to go to Capital Regional, the transfer would have been seamless with no additional checkin or potential delays.

Folks, close to 95% of issues seen by Weems can be seen at a standalone walk-in clinic like we went to. The other 5% don’t need a clinic and they won’t be appropriately seen at Weems because it lacks the services for those severely injured, very sick or requiring specialized services Weems simply does not have. We are endangering people’s lives by sending them to a hospital (Weems) that lacks the services and staff to treat the minimal 5%. The problem is, we think we have a hospital with Weems but really have an Emergency Room with beds that are by and large…empty. This will not change in the proposed “Stay the Course” path, unless and until you want to spend a zillion dollars to enlarge, equip and start hiring specialized doctors, nurses and other people that support those specialized services. Weems does not belong to a network hospital system which delays critical care too often.

Small town interests of the few is a legitimate issue. Political interests, hospital employee interests and even those that live around Weems are used to the status quo. Are we thinking what’s best for the county as a whole or for our own special interests? Let me say something unpopular but necessary. Keeping the status quo will lead to more people dying unnecessarily or receiving delayed or substandard care. Some people want their perks, inflated CEO pay ($125,000 a year), power, patronage and perceived convenience ahead of what is good for Eastpoint, Carrabelle, St. George Island and frankly, most of Apalachicola.

Alliant Healthcare has publicly promised the current CEO his job will continue under them. Too many self-interested people support a continuation of more of the same even though Weems is hemorrhaging money, and does not have a viable conception of what’s next and continues to blindly plunge forward to build a new, unnecessary hospital. It will not end well. The self-interests of too many people in Apalachicola are driving us off the cliff. Many of you have called and written to your Commissioners and yet, our Commission has allowed Weems to bring in yet another consultant to help “turn the hospital around and teach best practices.” Shouldn’t a pending near-term decision on which direction healthcare in Franklin County should take come first? Instead, Weems Hospital Board is forging ahead - without the approval of the commission - on their own assumption that a new facility is forthcoming. How is that even possible?

The constant drumbeat of political chaos has affected all of us, even right here in Franklin County. We throw up our hands at our individual inability to change things. You know that the Franklin County Commission staying in the healthcare business is a train wreck in progress. Most of us want the madness to stop and see Commissioners do what they are paid to do and lead the way out of this long term, expensive, unproductive $20 million and counting losses mess. I call on everyone in Franklin County to hammer their representatives who are playing with your very life, and demand the county get out of the healthcare business and turn it over to QUALIFIED EXPERTS. The obvious and best candidate…Sacred Heart. Sooner or later there will be a tragedy, regret and a reckoning. Don’t wait until we are well and truly staring down the barrel of a gun of some financial crisis or avoidable tragedy