Just over 2 years ago, three newly elected board-members took control of the Maricopa County Special Healthcare District. Once Mary Harden, Mark Dewane and Terence McMahon were seated, we saw what was in store for the citizens of Maricopa County as this new majority pushed through an unrequested $125,000 raise for the outgoing CEO. The following month they approved a special executive retirement plan.
Those new board members have led Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) from fiscal stability to the precipice of financial disaster. In the two years since my term ended, they have burned through more than a third of its operating cash. The district’s last fiscal year ended 6/30/14 with expenses $24,779,078 higher than its income. As recognition for his work that year, the board voted a “performance bonus” for its CEO.
I served 8 years on the district board and we never finished any year with a loss- much less almost $25 million in the red. Now, in only the first 7 months of this fiscal year, they topped the FY2014 record and have lost a staggering $35,172,241! It is almost inconceivable that such a vital public institution could get itself in such serious trouble. We haven’t even mentioned that this board somehow fumbled away the strategic affiliation agreement with the UA College of Medicine.
There are challenges, sure, but you cannot justify losing $60,000,000 in 19 months. I think it is time that directors Harden, Dewane and McMahon admit that they not up to the job the taxpayers elected them to do and get out.
MIHS is a wonderful organization with hard working employees and great doctors. It does amazing work healing people every day. Unfortunately at the rate MIHS is losing money, its days are numbered. It may never build a new hospital or anything else. With the current loss rate of $5 million a month, MIHS will be flat broke in about a year. There are hard decisions to be made, strategic alliances to be formed and creative solutions to be initiated. We need insightful, intelligent and intrepid leadership now.
— Bil Bruno of Chandler is a former chairman of the Maricopa County Special Healthcare District Board of Directors.