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Union: Hospital Partnership Bad for State

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Apr 2012 05:03pm | comments
An SEIU protestor outside the college board meeting.

A partnership between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a network of for-profit hospitals is drawing the opposition of a healthcare worker union. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports.

Members of the Service Employees International Union say the partnership is bad deal that could negatively impact health care for Mississippians.

Jonathan Davis, an SEIU policy analyst, says Health Management Associates over charges patients and provides substandard care.

"This is because they have been possibly engaged in fraud. This is because they are charging patients significantly more than the state wide medical average even when compared to other for-profit companies. And this is because they have been associated with incidents that suggest low quality when related to that level of care," Davis said.

The company is under federal investigation for potential Medicare fraud but none of the company's 10 Mississippi hospitals have been named in that investigation.

The medical school is trying to expand the size of its yearly doctor class and The University Medical Center vice Chancellor James Keeton says the partnership would help provide additional doctors to teach the added students.

"For them? They don't do high end tertiary care such as transplants, level one trauma. They want access to that but we give access to that everybody. But this is a special relationship that allows us to help our education that is the number one reason we are doing this," Keeton said.

Keeton says these partnership are very common and that opposition to it is based on bad-blood between the union and hospital company, not driven by concern for the quality of health care for Mississippians.

The Mississippi college board is currently examining the partnership and could vote on it in an upcoming meeting.

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An SEIU protestor outside the college board meeting.


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