Prince George's County Executive Lawrence Hogan yesterday told County Council members that he disagrees with their effort to lease the county's three financially troubled hospitals to a newly created, nonprofit concern. Although Hogan did not say whether he would veto council legislation designed to carry out their plan, his 16-page statement strongly disapproved of the council's proposal.
Last fall the council narrowly rejected Hogan's proposal to lease the hospitals to the profit-making Hospital Corporation of America, a Kentucky-based chain that operates more than 300 health-care facilities nationwide. Council members argued that the lease did not provide adequate protection for indigent care and some objected to Hogan's effort to ban abortions from being performed in the hospitals.
A council-appointed task force to explore alternatives to Hogan's plan proposed the creation of a nonprofit, county-based corporation to lease the hospitals. Hogan had refused to meet with the task force and issued his first response yesterday.
Hogan wrote, "The real issue is whether the lessee . . . has sufficient financial assets and credit worthiness to sustain short-term losses and to manage temporary cash flow problems such as the system has recently experienced."
Hogan said the council proposal would turn over a $70 million system to a new entity "which has no independent financial capability, nor any track record . . . "
Council member Ann Lombardi, who directed the task force and headed opposition to Hogan's leasing plan, said she had not yet read his comments, but added, "It sounds to me like he's saying, 'Why don't you look for a private corporation? ' Well, I'm not giving up that easily."
Last Tuesday, Lombardi introduced legislation that would turn the hospitals over to a nonprofit concern. Hogan urged the council to consider his objections before proceeding.