MED Board Chairman discusses possible emergency room closure - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MED Board Chairman discusses possible emergency room closure

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In July 2007, The MED hired efficiency firm FTI Cambio to keep the hospital from going under.

Internal documents obtained by Action News 5 show a string of fees and expenses by the efficiency firm that range between $191,726.06 and $3,778,436.91 per month.

"We knew it would be expensive, but we felt we had no choice," explained MED Board Chairman Gene Holcomb.

Wednesday, Holcomb met with Shelby County Commissioners to discuss a recent report revealing The MED might have to close its emergency room if they don't get an extra $32 million by next February.

Commissioner Matt Kuhn appreciated the report, "They made sure that we alerted the community that this is a crisis that we need to do something about," he said.

Commissioner Mike Ritz gave the report the thumbs down, "It did not sell the fact that these folks from FTI Cambio had done anything at all," Ritz told Holcomb.

Holcomb said FTI did its job, though it was painful that MED employees got pink slips.

Commissioner Steve Mulroy asked if there are local people with the expertise to carry out Cambio's services.

Holcomb said, "No."

The MED told Commissioner Mulroy that FTI fees and expenses total $10.6 million and that FTI would save $25 million a year starting 2010.

Commissioner Ritz said there must be a way to get out-of-town patients to pay their fair share.  "Why not put a 2% tax on their billings to support the MED?" he asked.

Commissioner George Flinn then asked Holcomb how much he and other MED board members earn for their work.

"I'm paid nothing," Holcomb responded as the fourth-floor committee room filled with laughter.

He said if he billed the county what Blue Cross before he retired, the county would owe him well over a million dollars.

Commissioner Mulroy requested several documents from the MED and Holcomb said he would be happy to supply them.

Holcomb also wrote a community letter refuting Action News 5's investigation of FTI cambio.  Click here to read the two-page letter.

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