Tuesday, October 06, 2009

WRTV's Fact Or Fiction Look At Wishard Referendum

WRTV's Norm Cox takes a "Fact or Fiction" look at the Wishard referendum on November 3. His analysis leads him to conclude that Wishard's health facilities are outdated, and that Wishard will eventually have to close sometime in the next ten years without a new facility because of problems attaining accreditation. I would point out, though, that Wishard currently boasts the highest accreditation rating and says it ranks as one of the best hospitals in the country. More importantly, Norm Cox backs up my claim that the more than $700 million the referendum will authorize the Health & Hospital Corporation to borrow by issuing bonds could result in higher property taxes. He concludes it is fiction for Wishard to claim the approval of the bond referendum won't result in higher property taxes.

Cox interviewed me for the story, but it is the comment former HHC CEO Mitch Roob made to Cox that is turning heads. Roob, who served as Secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration until last year and is currently serving as the state's chief economic development officer, tells Cox that the revenues HHC is relying upon to pay for the new hospital is "a bit of a scam." He's referring to those nursing home revenues the HHC claims will pay for the new hospital without raising property taxes. "It does not pass most people's smell test," Roob said. "It is legal, and I will tell you that it is that smell test that will eventually get them in trouble at the federal level," Roob warns.

So I ask Star editor Dennis Ryerson who is lying now? He reacted strongly to a recent editorial endorsement of the referendum that I criticized as a lie to taxpayers because it claimed no property tax increase was being presented at the November 3 special election. As I've made clear for some time now, the general obligation bonds the HHC will be issuing to pay for the new hospital are backed by a pledge of new property tax levies. General obligation bonds can't be issued without that pledge. Roob, as the state's former chief officer of the agency that oversees Medicaid-funded programs, understands that the nursing home funding scheme the HHC has concocted is a fraud on the federal government.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Wow, Roob's comments are unbelievable.

I would differ on one point though. I highly doubt the scheme will be found to be legal once the feds start digging into it.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Why is Marion County the only place in Indiana that has a public hospital?

Downtown Indy said...

CT, the 'public hospital' part is perhaps misleading.

If you present to any emergency room, they must accept you. Or at least that's my understanding - but of course IANAL.