Thursday, September 27, 2007

Unanswered questions

Four members of the watchdog group scrutinizing the affiliation plans of Kingston and Benedictine hospitals spent 45 minutes with our editorial board today.

For those of you keeping score at home, our editorial page has favored a merger between the hospitals for over a decade. So we're certainly encouraged that the boards and administrators not only are talking to each other, but they're of a mind to get a deal done -- even if it took a Russian roulette threat of the state Berger Commission (which said, in effect, if the hospitals don't come together by the end of the year, one would be forced to close) to facilitate it.

Last week's advancement of the affiliation concept drew supporters to witness to a contract signing ceremony at Wiltwyck, and, I'm told, prompted a standing ovation this morning from the bacon and eggs crowd at the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting.

But as our editorial board stated in the Sunday Freeman, too much of this work has been done in private and too many questions remain unanswered, even at this late date. That was echoed by the quartet who visited us today after the Chamber meeting. (They also reported denials of our charges by at least one of hospital president from the podium.)

For us, what it comes down to now as momentum builds between the principal players, is the old Ronald Reagan line: Trust, but verify.

Let's see the deal in writing. Let's make sure all health concerns, particularly those regarding reproductive services are adequately addressed ... again, in writing.

Trust, but verify.
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