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President Sloan discusses future of university health care system

Jan. 31, 1997

By Lisa Zapata

Lariat Staff Writer

Since the announcement that the Baylor Board of Regents was investigating options for the future of the Baylor Health Care System, there has been outcry from concerned parties both in favor of and against the options being reviewed.

The alternatives to sell or merge the system has brought the most objections from Dallas citizens and the Health Care System.

An editorial in Thursday's The Dallas Morning News said that 'the Baylor Health Care System is an invaluable service to this area as a humanitarian chain of hospitals. No price tag can be placed on the work Baylor Health Care has done for this community.'

In an interview with President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Thursday, he addressed the issues of the Baylor Health Care System and the position the University will take.

Sloan said no option had been decided upon yet, and none have been ruled out.

'All we continue to do is follow what our board says given the changing nature of health care and marketing systems,' Sloan said. 'We have to look at all options.'

He said he has received a few letters from Dallas citizens, and he understands the emotion people feel about the situation.

Dr. Stan Madden, vice president of University marketing, said, 'We respect everyone's right to be heard, but a great deal of this has been choreographed.'

He said some employees of the Health Care System have been encouraged by the advertisements in the newspaper.

'You can't let the news media make your decisions for you,' Madden said.

Sloan said that the University has basically tried to take the position of not getting into a public relations conflict. He also discussed the legality of considering all options.

'Both boards (Health Care System and Regents) have a responsibility to consider all available options,' Sloan said.

There are legal obligations the boards have to the public that they serve, he said. Legally, the University cannot say that it is avoiding any options.

'There has been a tendency on the part of some to call for a decision, but I don't think the regents will make a decision outside of the process,' Madden said.

He said the regents and the University are going to deal in facts rather than fear.

'It would probably be easy to emotionally respond to the media, but it is not in the best interest of Baylor, Dallas or the Health Care System,' Madden said.

When asked where revenue would go if the Health Care System was sold or merged, , 'The money would have to be used to fulfill the same general purposes set by both the Health Care System and the University,' Sloan said of where revenues would go if a sale did take place. 'Those purposes are education, research and health care.'

Madden said it is premature to say where the money would go, but he agreed that if there were proceeds from a sale or consolidation, they would go toward the purposes of the University.

'Baylor University is in the health care business, but that does not mean, necessarily, the hospital business,' Sloan said.

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