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Editorial: Severed ties does University no good, BHCS gets full control, use of name

April 2, 1997

Editorial

Health Care System

Severed ties does University no good, BHCS gets full control, use of name

The issue:

Baylor Health Care System

Our view:

Walking away from BHCS does nothing for Baylor.

The Baylor Health Care System situation hit a surprising anticlimax on Monday.

The Baylor Board of Regents voted to break ties with the BHCS. The University is more or less walking away from a relationship which has existed since the 1920s with nothing but two black eyes, one financial, one public relations.

No final arrangement exists yet on paper to define what the University's relationship with the health care system will be. However, the intial reports indicate a surrender. The BHCS got virtually all it wanted with autonomy in choosing its governing boards and can keep the name and the reputation that comes with it.

Financially, the University dealt itself a poor hand. Formerly, Baylor could potentially have made a large sum of money either by an outright sale or perhaps a joint venture. Now the only people who will see any profit are the boards in charge of the hospitals.

These boards will have final determination on any deals to sell the system or its parts. Predications suggest the Dallas health care market will be controlled by two large providers within a decade.

With the current arrangement, the University will receive no say in any deal with a company like Tenet or Columbia.

The University still shelled out money to go through this ordeal. Whether consultant Josh Nemzoff gets the once-reported $3 million or not, he gets paid. Although the BHCS is sharing some of the consultants' costs, the University still loses money from its contingency funds. The BHCS should have footed the entire bill for any consultants or studies. Autonomy should bear a heavier price.

The other shiner comes from the public relations nightmare. The regents and admininistration kept quiet through much of the ordeal, leaving the public exposed to the outrage of Dallas residents and health care system officials.

All the general public saw was the full-page ads in The Dallas Morning News, whether they read the stories or not. Fallout from alumni and recruiting could last for years.

The University's reputation could take another blow. Should the system officials decide to sell, the University might still not receive anything. So the hospitals bearing Baylor's name could still hit the auction block and be sold bearing our name.

The one positive thing that could come from this whole situation-turned-fiasco is for the hospital system to foot the entire bill for these studies and consultants. The University has already suffered enough.

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