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Editorial: Administration needs to inform public of what+s new because we don+t know

March 18, 1997


Health Care System

Administration needs to inform public of what's new because we don't know

The issue:

The University's position on the status of the BHCS.

Our view:

A solid, unified decision or statement needs to be made for everyone's sake.

Recent developments in the Baylor Health Care System situation have created some conflicting reactions between the regents and the administration.

In an article in Friday's Dallas Morning News, a plan was discussed by five of the hospitals to go out on their own, removing themselves from the auspices of the BHCS and the Baylor Board of Regents.

A few days after the initial press conference in mid-January, the hospitals changed their articles of incorporation to create a new entity called Baylor Health Services. This body would appoint their boards, taking that responsibility away from the Baylor Health Care System board. Such a shift would place control of the hospitals' fate locally, rather than with the regents.

After University officials discovered this, a meeting was quickly scheduled between the BHCS and the University. The tensions seem to have eased somewhat, but the actions and end show a distrust between both parties.

Exploring other options for the BHCS will take more time. The possibility of the system sending a check every year in exchange for keeping its own board in power sounds fairly reasonable, depending on the conditions. Allow the people most affected by the system to determine its fate and the University gets to keep its name attached to one of the top health care systems in the nation.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect seems to be a conflict in statements between the administration and the regents.

University regent Randy Fields publicly backed down from the notion of selling the BHCS because of the negative publicity the whole situation was receiving.

They should not have been surprised. Such a change with so many people's health care providers at stake and such a long tradition in the Dallas area was bound to spark an uproar.

However, despite Fields' comments to the Morning News, vice president of University relations Dr. Stan Madden said the University had taken no position on the matter.

So does the University have a position or not?

All students can realistically ask is that the regents and the administration huddle up later this week and come up with a solid plan or statement to give to the public. Indecision and conflicting reports can be just as damaging to public opinion as any falsehood or rumor.

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