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Government and People
|Statement of Dr. Will Horsley, former chief of ophthalmology at Boston
Regional Medical Center
Boston Memorial Hospital was originally founded in 1895 by the 7th Day Adventist Church. Generations of workers have lived on the campus, both church members and non-church members and in the surrounding neighborhood. In the late 90's the economics of medical care deteriorated and the then President of the hospital, it was known at that time as the Boston Regional Medical Center, sought outside organizations to partner with or to purchase the hospital outright. Tenant Healthcare made an offer $39 million. The Winchester Hospital had also been interested but the offer from Doctors Community Health Corporation was substantively higher. I believe it was in the $54 million range. The deal was contingent upon National Century Financial Corporation's funding the deal and also required that they take over management of the hospital in the interim period. They did not reveal that National Century Mortgage was related to Doctors Community Health Corp. While they were managing the hospital, the finances under their management deteriorated and they proceeded to factor the accounts receivable and also to take out loans on the equipment which had previously been fully paid for. When they did pull out, representing that their funding had not gone through, but not admitting that it was they themselves that had decided not to fund it through their own company, the hospital was in a precarious state, with all its receivables factored, in liens on all its equipment and not even enough cash on hand to go through a chapter 11 conversion. Also, under their management, employee withholding had been made for federal taxes, state taxes, health insurance and pension funds and had not been placed towards these entities, but simply withheld and used for other purposes. This caused health care workers to go without health care insurance. And even when I as a doctor was paid, some of the payments were later taken out of other, later services. I myself was a second generation worker at the hospital, my parents having started the practice in ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat in the 60's and I joined them in 1981, continuing the ophthalmology practice to this day.
When the hospital declared bankruptcy, a thousand hospital employees lost their jobs. For many this also involved losing their homes. And quite a few had to even move from the area. Beyond the loss of employment, and with the immediate hospital employees, the number one employer in the town of Stoneham had been the hospital, so this was very disruptive to the town. And there were nearly 200 active medical staff members, meaning active doctors who did most of the work at the hospital. A number of these doctors also left the area, due to the tremendous financial impact for them and many of those who remain, are only limping along after giving their life's blood and career to the institution.
Also under the agreement, that had been reached with Doctors Community Health Corporation, the 7th Day Adventist church on the campus and the 7th Day Adventist Academy on the campus would have been preserved, but as it is, the church members had to move and the academy has been torn down.
It is my understanding, that during the bankruptcy proceedings, a front organization for Doctors Community Health Care, had came to the bidding process, seeking to buy the hospital at a considerable discount from the original price that they had offered. The judge reportedly learned that this was a front organization for Doctors Community Health Care and turned them down, out of principle. There is some rumor also, that is, how they work, to scare off competitors by bidding up the price to unrealistic levels and then pulling out once they scare off the other competitors, forcing the hospital to accept a lower price then they would otherwise have gotten, had a fair offer been tenured in the first place.
There also seems to be a heartless component to Doctors Community Health Care clearly irresponsibly manipulate institutions with no regard to workers, or community or patients, but simply for financial gain. That certainly seems that in the instance of Boston Regional Medical Center, former New England Memorial Hospital, Doctors Community Health Corporation acted in poor faith and deceitfully manipulated the organization and the facts without regard to the great harm that they were doing, to the many thousands of patients, workers, and townspeople involved. Their deceit also extended to the Attorney General of the state of Massachusetts and to the creditors of the hospitals, including the bondholders.
It also should be noted that when Doctors Community Health Corp. took over the management of the hospital they charged a very hefty fee for the service, which was also one of the reasons the hospital fell further behind financially. And under their management they proved to be less competent then the prior administration whose hands were tied on the sidelines until we were told repeatedly that the deal was closing and the funds were imminent. All the employees and doctors, as well as the community, were deceived in this matter until the very end. When I personally learned about the imminent bankruptcy of the hospital, I was eating out with my wife in a Boston restaurant. At 8 o'clock in the evening on a Saturday, I received a page from the chief of surgery telling me of a meeting, Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock, concerning the imminent bankruptcy of the institution. All of us were taken entirely by surprise.
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