Saturday, August 11, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation between Bush & Shuttered LA Hospital

After reading the motion by the Los Angeles County Supervisor to close King-Harbor Hospital, I decided to search for connections between the parties involved in closing a public hospital, so a private one might later take its place. The motion included the following statement:

On Thursday evening June 7, 2007, this Board learned that MLK-Harbor Hospital had been found by federal investigators to have committed numerous violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) by placing emergency room patients in “immediate jeopardy” of harm or death. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have given the hospital 23 days to correct these problems or face immediate termination of federal funds. This is the fourth time this hospital has been found to pose an “immediate jeopardy” to patients. Over many years, this Board has invested millions of dollars in reforming this hospital. At the insistence of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we hired Navigant Consulting to completely reengineer services at the hospital.

So who is on the Navigant Board of Directors and how close are they to the Bush administration? An SEC filing shows the six members include a past governor of Illinois, a prior chief of staff for President George H. W. Bush, and two directors of large nonprofit health care systems.

It is difficult to find exactly when the arrangement began, but in January 2005 Navigant Consulting submitted a list of 1,052 recommendations. The other ex-governor Thompson from Wisconsin had already vacated his post as the federal bureaucrat for health. Mike Leavitt had warmed the seat but for a few days when Navigant offered their report to Los Angeles County supervisors. However, Mike is also a member of the ex-governors club. Does it take only 4 degrees to connect President Bush to the consulting firm?

Thompson (Navigant Board, ex-Gov. Illinois) to Thompson (HHS, ex-Gov. Wisconsin) to Leavitt (HHS, ex-Gov. Utah) to Bush

Given the consulting firm's board has hospital governance experience, how did Navigant let down the poor people in King-Harbor's service area? One nurse has some thoughts on the mattter.

Update 10-21-10  President Obama's Valerie Jarrett sat on the board of Navigant at the time of King Harbor report.  She also served on the board of RREEF America, II, the real estate securities investment division of Deutsche Bank.