|Ocala, FL -
Published in the Star Banner/Ocala.com on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
It was good to see sound business judgment prevail last week in the decision by the Munroe Regional trustees to extend the lease agreement. It was, however, disappointing to see three appointed trustees dancing in circles trying to sell one of the community's finest assets.
From my past experience in mergers and acquisitions, it's imperative that a long-term lease be in place prior to any negotiations or the seller, in this case MRMC, would have absolutely no negotiation leverage.
The existence of a lease will not be a deterrent for the hospital's trustees to explore financial options to improve the financial viability of the institution. Parties truly interested in partnering with or purchasing MRMC will not allow an existing lease to stop them.
The rush by the three trustees for a fire sale is irresponsible and all three frankly failed Partnership Negotiations 101. One has to consider whose interests they really represent here.
When the discussion at the meeting questioned if the hospital's valuable associates would possibly sever their loyalty and leave the hospital without the protection of a lease, Larry Strack, the newest trustee, with eight weeks of experience, commented that “in an asset sale situation, the employees usually come out better” — try to sell that one to the 2,500 associates, 2,000 volunteers and 5,000 Prestige 55 Members who are so loyal to the institution.
There is no doubt the hospital has to develop new financial options to assist it in the financial challenges of the health-care industry today, but clearly the taxpayers want a Cadillac of a health-care facility from MRMC to serve all members of our community — the rich and the poor.