Lawmaker accuses state of discrimination against The MED

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Shelby County lawmaker said the State of Tennessee is discriminating against The MED by withholding money.

Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz, who sits on The MED Task Force, authored a formal complaint against the State of Tennessee.

In the complaint, Ritz argued the state's hospital funding practices constitute racial discrimination against the MED's predominantly minority staff and patient base.

"Quite frankly, their decisions currently and in the past have been discriminatory both on the face of it and in effect," Ritz said.

The rest of The MED Task Force did not know Ritz was filing a formal complaint.

"When you're an elected official, you're in the middle of heated negotiations regarding an entity that is so important for this community," said Deidre Malone, Shelby County Commission, "I think you need to think about your actions."

They now worry about backlash since the administration accused of racial discrimination.

MED Board Chairman Gene Holcomb said he has already received an e-mail from the state commissioner of finance and administration regarding Ritz's complaint.

The e-mail read "it has changed our ability to negotiate any further agreement for the benefit of The MED. I sincerely hope some other sources become available to assist you. Thanks."

Ritz said he is not apologizing or backing down from his formal complaint.

"I'm hoping frankly that DHHS will require the state to do what's right and give us essentially our money that the state keeps to fund TENNCare," Ritz said.

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