Lead­ers cool to pro­posal to fund Grady Hospi­tal

Ca­gle calls res­o­lu­tion adopted by the Grady

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Shan­non McCaf­frey

AT­LANTA — Grady Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal shouldn’t be count­ing on a big check from the state any­time soon.

A day af­ter the board of the At­lanta hospi­tal voted to change its gov­ern­ing struc­ture to at­tract an in­fu­sion of dol­lars, Ge­or­gia po­lit­i­cal lead­ers on Tues­day balked at the price tag.

Grady’s board called for a writ­ten guar­an­tee that the state will pay $30 mil­lion a year to prop up the hospi­tal, which serves a large num­ber of poor and unin­sured Ge­or­gia res­i­dents.

“I have no in­ten­tion of sign­ing an un­en­force­able doc­u­ment that seeks to bind the state to a spe­cific, an­nual ap­pro­pri­a­tion,” Gov. Sonny Per­due said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle echoed that sen­ti­ment, call­ing the res­o­lu­tion adopted by the Grady board a start­ing point.

“You can’t en­ter into a con­tract that’s go­ing to go on for eter­nity, and that’s re­ally what has been re­quested,” Ca­gle said.

Through a spokes­woman, House Speaker Glenn Richard­son de­clined to com­ment.

The Grady board asked for a writ­ten com­mit­ment from all three lead­ers, pledg­ing the state dol­lars. They are also ask­ing the state to pump money into the state’s cash-strapped net­work of trauma cen­ters. Grady is one of the state’s few level-one trauma cen­ters.

A stale­mate could prompt law­mak­ers to pass leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing the hospi­tal to adopt non­profit sta­tus with­out any guar­an­tee of ad­di­tional state money.

Ca­gle said “the worst-case sce­nario” would be if law­mak­ers came back to the Capi­tol with­out a res­o­lu­tion in the Grady fund­ing cri­sis.

“The mood of the Leg­is­la­ture is to en­sure that Grady stays vi­able and maybe change would be in or­der,” Ca­gle said.

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