Opposing City Funds for Hospital
The following is a copy of a letter to Santa Clarita City Council members.
As a former medical staff member at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital of over 30 years and former chief of staff from 1993-1994, I am opposed to the city “gifting” any money to HMNH. “Gifting” public funds, even to a nonprofit institution, is a terrible precedent. What is to stop other seemingly deserving entities from requesting funds, and what objective criteria is in place to distinguish who truly needs and deserves the money as opposed to those who do not? According to an article published in The Signal on Feb. 13, Marlee Lauffer, president of the HMNH Foundation and vice president of communications for the hospital, requested a $2 million donation from the city. I would like to use this communication to request that $2 million or as much as can be budgeted be returned to the taxpayers of the city of Santa Clarita to assist in paying our outrageous gas bills, or if so inclined, to voluntarily donate their refund to HMNH. To Ms. Lauffer’s request, I say you say to her a polite NO. As for my request, I expect the moon to turn into Swiss cheese before I would see a rebate of my tax dollars.
As I have sadly observed, medicine, including hospitals, is a BUSINESS. Don’t let the veneer of a nonprofit designation sway your judgement. Like many hospitals, HMNH depends on the money it takes in from insurers, local, state and federal government entities, and those who choose voluntarily to contribute to it. Public funds should be used for public purposes and entities owned by the public, ie., the city of Santa Clarita. The city does not own HMNH. Funding nonpublic entities, no matter what their purpose, is NOT in the purview of the City Council.
Do not be influenced that the executive staff of the hospital has allegedly contributed $4.7 million, its employees allegedly $1.2 million, and its physicians allegedly $1 million to the building fund. You may be left with the impression that the HMNH community of executives, employees and physicians is one big happy family and that everyone enthusiastically is contributing monetarily. I surmise that you will find only a small percentage of the employees and physicians are contributing, and that those who are, are highly placed within the managerial hierarchy and/ or have contracts with the hospital and contribute to remain in the good graces of the powers-that-be.
I reiterate my opposition to apportioning any of the city’s budget to HMNH.
Dr. Steven H Baron Newhall