Monday, October 26, 2009

What Tangled Webs the School of Medicine and Wishard Weave

The following is a guest post by Carl Moldthan of the Indianapolis Taxpayers PAC.

Over the past 29 years that I have been involved in trying to protect the taxpayers of Marion County and it has been my disgust and displeasure to find situations setup by public officials primarily to confuse and deceive the taxpayers. The Wishard and IU School of Medicine (IUSOM) contract is one such situation. Trying to sort out this mess is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube in the dark. But like my dad used to say, “Where there’s a will, there a way”.

According to Indiana Code, Wishard’s job or duty is to provide healthcare and hospital care for those less fortunate than most. In other words, they cure the sick and injured who don’t have any money. The law does not say anything about Wishard being a teaching hospital or a research facility, it is there for one purpose and one purpose only, assist the poor in their health problems and needs. That does not mean Wishard cannot allow someone else to do research at Wishard but if that happens, the taxpayers of Marion County should NOT PAY for this research.

Wishard and IUSOM have a contract for services to be provided by IUSOM through IU Health. IU Health is a non-profit organization and I guess was created to confuse and deceive the taxpayers of Marion County. Well, I was able to obtain the IRS 990 forms that were filed in 2005-06-07 and I found some very interesting and disheartening data. It seems that IU Health is doing research and charging Wishard for the research they do.

On the 990 form IU Health lists $43,792,243 in salaries and benefits for I guess doctors. There is also a line item listed as “Compensation of current officers, directors, key employees etc… at $1,794,492. However, at least the first figure seems legitimate because there should be doctor’s salaries, but the line items I have a problem with are as follows: What is Wishard doing paying $1.7 million in rent for a building located at 8910 Purdue RD, Suite 500? Why is Wishard being charged $216,929 for a phone system located on Purdue Rd? And there is more (see below).

Now there is only one reason I can come up with why this deal is setup in this manner and that is that IU Health is doing research on the Marion County Taxpayer’s DIME. Let’ take a look and you tell me what you think.

I found items on this 990 that should in no way be charged to Wishard and they are as follows:

$1,511,800 (06) $1,791,492 (07)
Officers, directors and key employees
Why should Wishard pay for officers of a corporation to do what IUSOM is suppose to do, if not, then let’s take our business elsewhere.

$153,734 (06) $73,540 (07)
Wishard already has a very sophisticated accounting system why should we pay for someone else’s?

$41,548 (06) $102,394 (07)
Wishard already pays for all Malpractice insurance so why is this needed? Attorneys already rape our community for enough money every year, why should we pay more?

$138,990 (06) $1,559,884 (07)
Wishard spends a small fortune on supplies, why then does IU Health buy them? And why was there an increase of over 1,000%?

$312,250 (06) $216,929 (07)
Why should Wishard pay for phones they don’t and can’t use?

$140,057 (06) $121,966 (07)
Why is Wishard doing so much mailing from Purdue Road?

$1,588,730 (06) $1,703,955 (07)
Occupancy (Office Space)
Why is Wishard paying rent for an unneeded office and why so far from IUSOM and Wishard?

$613,767 (06) $717,052 (07)
Equipment Rental & Maintenance
Why is IU Health renting equipment when Wishard has everything that is needed?

$233,564 (06) $159,433 (07)
Printing & Publications
What does IU Health have to print? All printing needs should be taken care of by IUSOM.

$192,665 (06) $64,264 (07)
Travel, where, when and what for? The contract is for Wishard which is located in Indianapolis why should anyone in this group be going anywhere to complete its duties with Wishard. This sounds like something IUSOM should be paying for.

$54,567 (06) $352,864 (07)
Conferences, meetings
Why is IU Health charging Wishard for Conferences, shouldn’t that be IUSOM responsibilities?

$529,449 (06) $681,316 (07)
Other Expenses
What Other Expenses?

$197,709 (06)
Why is IU Health doing marketing, Wishard does enough of that?

$1,535,929 (06)
Contracted Services
What contract services?

$585,053 (06)
What misc?

$994,848 (06)
Non-Capitated Services
I thought this contract was inclusive?

$53,424 (07)
Why Grants?

Grand Total
$8,824,660 (06) $7,598,513 (07)
From this 990 it seems that Wishard is paying for items they should not be paying for. If this is wrong then I think I and the taxpayers of Marion County need and deserve an answer.

There are a lot of questions I have about this entire setup and they are as follows:
· Why does IUSOM need to go through IU Health?
· Are all the people who work
for IU Health also employees of IUSOM and Wishard?
· Why does IU Health have
over $12 million in investments as of 2007?
· Isn’t there an easier more
direct manner of doing this contract?
As I said before, all Wishard needs is doctors, just doctors. As taxpayers we don’t care if IUSOM does research or for that matter anything within the laws of Indiana as long as it doesn’t cost Marion County taxpayers more. It is because of this contract and other confusing facts that I am very skeptical of this Wishard Bond Issue and I believe everyone in Marion should also be skeptical and VOTE NO on November 3rd.


dcrutch said...

From the stealth introduction of this little publicized urgent need in the legislative session, to a referendum written so ambiguously I believe my thirteen year-old did it, to the unmitigated gall of telling us not to worry during an economic crisis about the ability of a rigged cash flow to pay for contruction (while our pocketbooks are plan B), to amazingly opportune steam pipe problems, to the emerging, apparent shadow-funding we do for a state University:

This whole thing stinks.

I'm up for hospitals. I'm not up for information withheld, obfuscated, left-out, misrepresented, and a cascade of rosy assumptions we're suppossed to believe-in, as we watch the rest of our collective government continue to spend money we don't have.

I'm not buying it.

I'm voting, "No". I'll consider "Yes" when we get a straight scoop.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I guess I'm missing the link here. How much is the dollar amount of the contract between Wishard and IU Health? Does IU Health have any other 'customers'?

Carl E Moldthan said...


I was just going through the internet and typed in IU Health and a site popped up. The business was located at same address on Purdue Rd as the one in the article I wrote. I then clicked on "About Us" and guess what I found out? Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) along with IU School of Medicine jointly owns IU Health d/b/a IU Medical Group - Primary Care.

I have asked the CEO and CFO from HHC numerous times for information concerning IU Health and they have told me that they knew nothing about it because it was a private non-profit organization they could not provide the information I was asking for. This is what I found:
Conveniently Located
Just because we're a part of Indiana University, doesn't mean you'll need to drive downtown to see us. The growing number of IU Medical Group offices in Central Indiana gives you easy access to health care when you need it. Chances are we're located right in your neighborhood. Our offices offer flexible hours, a variety of appointment times, and some offer the convenience of x-ray equipment and labs on site.

The Best Choice for Quality Health Care
With IUMG-PC, your family's health will be in the hands of primary care doctors who meet the highest professional standards. Doctors who are supported by the resources of internationally recognized hospitals and researchers.

Legal Name IU Health, Inc.
d/b/a: IU Medical Group - Primary Care
Established: 1986 (as University Health Care, Inc.)
Status: Not-for-profit
Owner: Jointly owned by the Indiana University School of Medicine and Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.


Bottom line is, the officials at HHC have been lying and hiding this information since the very beginning. I will let you know what else I find.


Downtown Indy said...

Thank you Carl. Gutwein's roadshow is a masterpiece in misinformation/disinformation.

He's even stooped to making fun of 'the bloggers' for daring to question his plan. And he was quick to point out all the hospital's books have been 'gone over' by various government agencies so there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with them. Sort of like the way the SEC went over Bernie Madoff's books and found nothing wrong, I suppose.

As dcrutch said, "The whole think stinks." To high heaven.

I hope people are getting the message that a "NO" doesn't equate to 'no hospital' although Gutwein really is putting the effort into make us think that.

interestedparty said...

I'm not going to comment on the confusing ancillary issues, but as far as why Wishard and the School of Medicine are a match is partly because doctors-in-training get experiences in big city hospitals with Burn Units and Level 1 Trauma units that they just can't get in any other place. They can't get the complete medical education which you would want them to have in a hospital in the 'burbs. I think we would want to be careful not to cut our noses off to spite our faces.

Advance Indiana said...

If HHC is a joint owner of IU Health, how can it be legally permitted to contribute $750,000 to the campaign to pass the referendum. Our taxpayer dollars are being donated to a political action committee to pass the referendum?

spooknp said...

IU Health is nothing more than the IU Medical Group:

Legal Name IU Health, Inc.
d/b/a: IU Medical Group - Primary Care
Established: 1986 (as University Health Care, Inc.)
Status: Not-for-profit
Owner: Jointly owned by the Indiana University School of Medicine and Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

Downtown Indy said...

interestedparty is continuing the Gutwein misinformation campaign that without getting the referendum passed, Wishard cannot build a new hospital.

That is not true.

The rest of the arguments about doctors, training, trauma centers, burn units is simply F.U.D. designed by the Gutwein machine to tilt the outcome their way. Some people latch onto it without even thinking it through, just because it sounds terrible.

Wishard has the money by their own admission, and it will expend very little of their annual revenue to pay back their loans - facts THEY have offered - which are unaltered by the outcome of the referendum.

All the referendum does is decide who guarantees repayment - taxpayers or Wishard. That's all!

Carl E Moldthan said...

To Had Enough

The total was $58 million last year and that only accounts for what we have been able to find. I have asked for information from HHC and IUSOM for who works for IU Health and how much are they paid and they continue to tell me that it is a non-profit organzation, what they didn't tell me was they are joint owners.

I don't know whether they have any other contacts. As far as I can tell Wishard and HHC is it.


Guest said...

Okay big boys when do the lawyers appear to stop this thing? I just received another card in mail saying 'with no tax increase" -if this thing goes through due to the uninformed sympathic vote based on misinformation do we get to sue them for lying to us? I"ll save my card for evidence in case....Question is when do the ones that can stop this step up?

artfuggins said...

Perhaps it will succeed because the voters of Marion County want it to succeed. Just because there is some scattered opposition to it, does not mean that there is not massive support for it. I guess we will know next Tuesday.

Downtown Indy said...

It may succeed because MC voters are just too apathetic to think it through vs. just swallowing the crap the handful of financial beneficiaries are passing around.

Getting 25% of the voters to vote may be a challenge. Having 51% of 25% of the voters deciding what will happen during the next 30 years of property tax rate-setting is a pretty scaring/disheartening though.

dcrutch said...


You have a point with some merit. I’ll need a hospital again and hope I'm fortunate to get a well trained doctor. Unfortunately, there's also at least s o m e merit to increased school district funding, renovating the library, Lucas Oil Stadium, national health care for everybody, stabilizing Afghanistan, benefits for non-citizen families of newly born American citizens, securing our borders, expanded Marion County jail capacity, mentoring and Big Brothers & Sisters, ambulance service for all townships and counties, someone to answer all questions at the DNR, well-trained and compensated foster parents, etc., etc., etc.,,,,

Some of these listed will elicit, "Wait a minute! We have no business spending more money on that! That's not important." We might even agree on s o m e choices. The problem is there aren't enough citizens collectively demanding our government make choices. Instead, we elect officials who act like they’re at a huge department store sale: "I'll take it all! Can you wrap it for me!?" The loss of most media advocacy for fiscal reality only prolongs the dysfunctionality. When 50-2000 citizens gather over approximately eight months in eight rallies in downtown Indianapolis, largely protesting bipartisan spending of money we don’t have, and the cumulative coverage is less than a single gathering of maybe 50 workers supporting national health care in a union parking lot- the Indianapolis Star isn’t helping. The journalism that used to help protect everyone from the excesses of each and every ideology is vanishing, not from reporting, but from ignoring.

Don't use emotion and compassion to cloak and twist an issue. Economics doesn't care if you have a heart as big as a boat. If you don't have enough money to buy food for the strangers you felt sorry for - they STILL won't eat. Same if there's not enough oxygen- they won't breath either. Why would we think these basic laws of life are different for any level of government? It still takes real money - or eventually the whole thing comes tumbling down. If there's reasonable need, then present the reasonable case and don't hide stuff.

We turned our head, looked the other way a lot when we were the world’s fiscal beacon (pick from list above or your own list)- but not much longer. If we want to stay afloat long enough to hand our country over to our kids, we've got to weigh the explicit, factual, unvarnished, truthful, complete, merit of government expenditures- not just the warm, fuzzy, gooey aspects.

OR- read about Iceland lately? If we don't get real and make some hard choices, we're going to become ‘New Iceland’: The land where devalued currency forces McDonald's to pull out because nobody can afford a Big Mac.

Enough of the collective hooey of "how much we need it". Bring the facts. ALL the facts.

interestedparty said...

Downtown Indy said:

"interestedparty is continuing the Gutwein misinformation campaign that without getting the referendum passed, Wishard cannot build a new hospital."

Please tell me how you conclude that I said this. I made my point about doctor training pointedly not commenting on the proposal for a new hospital. I do support high quality medical education for selfish and humanitarian reasons: When I need a doctor I want him/her to know what they're doing, and I believe other people are entitled to well-trained doctors as well.

interestedparty said...


I get what you are saying and worry about most of the same things. I appreciated your reply. I'm surprised that you would bother to write such a long reply to someone you assume is in disagreement or is somehow not as informed as you are. I get put off when sarcasm and insult are presented as well as facts and viewpoints if there is even a whiff of a different opinion, so, thanks for not doing that. I tend not to get into arguments when I sense there is no mind-changing going to happen. But I do offer examples that may illuminate another way of thinking about something. That does earn the sarcasm and insult at times and it's disappointing.

Carl E Moldthan said...


If this is a selfish move on your party, then likewise it is also one selfish move by IU School of Medicine. Anyone with an ounce of brain matter knows that this hospital is NOT being built for the taxpayer of Marion County it is being built for the IUSOM. Who donated the $1 million to this campaign? IUSOM and HHC. I cannot understand for the life of me why so many people continue to believe the lies that government tells. And the Republicans are nothing but paper Republicans and for this they probably will not get reelected next time (in Indy).

There is not a government agency within the United States that couldn’t give you a list of things they need or want, what we as taxpayers have to do is learn how to say “NO”. How hard is that, try it, NOOOOO, again, NOOOOO, one more time, NOOOOO. That’s better just say NO. Now go VOTE NO, Please.

dcrutch said...


My apologies. I used your input as a beginning for my own thoughts, but shouldn't have addressed the whole thing to you. Thanks for your work in the community associated with our doctors. I have no preconceived notion on your knowledge or stances, other than your concern about the Wishard and IU training relationship. I remain concerned, as perhaps you, on how we pay for "all this". Thank you for your input to the topic.

Guestme said...

The only concern that I have is that wishard Hospital is very old, crumbling and is the only true class one trama center left in the city. Methodist is the other but is cutting back it's staff and resources. If you are in a severe car accident or have gunshot wound then Wishard is the hospital of choice.