Another day, another measure of bad news concerning for-profit Franklin Hospital (a part of the Florida-based HMA corporation) and its potential partner, UNC/Rex. Today Sam LaGrone reports in the News and Observer that Brian Gwyn, CEO of Franklin, has been shown the proverbial door:
At his request, Gwyn has transferred to another unspecified post within the for-profit corporation that owns the hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. She declined to give other details.
All the players in this drama are still tight-lipped about the current crisis, refusing even to say what major quality of care problems the federal government found that last week prompted its threat to stop paying for patients to be treated at Franklin. There can be little doubt, however, that Gwyn’s departure is directly related to those issues. Health and safety problems so serious that the company just fired the CEO of the hospital should raise even more flags about the quality of care being delivered at Franklin.
Most disappointingly, Franklin continues its refusal to release any information about the quality of care problems at the hospital, what its plan for fixing those problems might be, and how residents of Franklin County and the surrounding area can be assured that they will not be put at risk if they should end up in Franklin. This refusal to release more information, even as the situation gets worse with the CEO firing, just makes Franklin look like they are hiding something – and that’s not good for anyone.
It’s especially egregious when one considers the number of recent public meetings, CON hearings, and media appearances where Franklin administrators and others continually played up the quality of care given at their hospital, their concerns for their community, and other good works. They were happy to talk at length about all aspects of the hospital operations when they wanted something from the community – permission to move to the wealthier area of the county. Now that a major quality problem has surfaced at Franklin they don’t want to say a thing. Now that’s arrogance.
Is there a silver lining here? Well, with Gwyn’s firing, it looks like HMA is worried enough about its problems to start making some major changes to improve quality of care – and that can only be a good thing. Franklin has made tens of millions in profits for HMA in the last few years, and presumably should have the financial resources to quickly make changes. Will these changes be major, long-lasting, and restore faith in care at Franklin? Will they be enough to avert the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding? With all the secrecy surrounding the hospital and its partners, who knows?