Concerns About An Erlanger In North Carolina - And Response

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I am very surprised and quite concerned, that Erlanger Hospital is seeking to acquire a hospital out of state again,  Not one just across the state line, but one an hour and half away in Murphy, N.C.  It's madness to see how our public hospital, funded by tax dollars, can possibly justify acquiring a money losing hospital.  We all saw daily stories across the media spectrum of the Hutcheson debacle.  One in which the only winners are the lawyers involved.   

Erlanger is a great hospital providing great care.  But in a healthcare environment where there are so many unknowns, Erlanger is on a building and spending spree regardless of the risk.  How is this going to be paid for, and how will it be sustained?  Are North Carolina's taxpayers on the hook if this Murphy experiment fails?  What happens to our local operations if, and probably when, Murphy becomes a drag on the bottom line?   Murphy may be on the outer edge of the service area, but that doesn't mean acquiring a red ink and debt filled hospital is necessary. 

I ask these questions because although Erlanger is a business, it's a business that belongs to us.  Hopefully the board of directors and local officials will ask the tough questions, because I can't think of a worse time for this to happen. 

Sean Flanagan
Chattanooga 

* * *

We appreciate the public interest in Erlanger’s continuing alignment with hospitals throughout our region.  The healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation and small community hospitals throughout the country are seeking partnerships and alignments with academic medical centers like Erlanger Health System.   As the region’s only Level I Trauma Center and critical access system, Erlanger cares for patients throughout a five state area, encompassing 63 contiguous counties that cover more than 50,000 square miles, with more than 40 referring hospitals. 

Erlanger already has affiliation agreements with hospitals in Blue Ridge and Rome, Georgia., and Dayton, Cleveland, Sewanee, Copper Basin and Winchester, Tennessee.  A primary goal of these affiliations is to provide care in the communities where people live, with quick and easy access to Erlanger Health System for specialized services available at a Level I Trauma Center.   

The exploration of this opportunity with Murphy Medical Center is clearly aligned with Erlanger’s mission of being an academic healthcare resource for our broad service area.  We are the closest academic medical center offering primary and secondary medical treatment for adult and pediatric patients, and trauma, stroke, and heart care for those living in and near Murphy, N.C. There are a number of different ways to structure affiliation agreements, including a lease, management agreement or purchase.  During the due diligence period Murphy Medical Center and Erlanger Health System will determine the most effective structure that will best serve our communities and patients.  

Ultimately our goal is to improve population health throughout the region, to decrease the cost of health care and improve care at the same time. By aligning Erlanger and its world-class physicians with regional hospitals, residents in smaller communities are able to be treated where they want and need to be treated - in their own communities. This, in turn, provides more available beds and services for our own residents here in Chattanooga.   

I welcome the opportunity to answer questions about these strategic alliances, as well as the growing trend nationwide of smaller hospitals consolidating and aligning themselves with large academic health systems like Erlanger. Please feel free to email me at robert.brooks@erlanger.org. 

Rob Brooks
EVP & Chief Operating Officer
Erlanger Health System


Why Educators Leave The Profession

Unfortunately, some school districts in Tennessee will begin the school year still needing to hire teachers to staff their schools. Statistically, our Colleges of Education are not graduating the number of students necessary to replace teachers who have left the field, either voluntarily or involuntarily. A recent infographic from the Learning Policy Institute illustrates the issue ... (click for more)

What Would You Have Done? - And Response

I was fortunate enough to go to two bike rallies in one summer sometime in the 90’s I think.  The first one was at Leavenworth Washington State and the second was Missoula Montana.  I went across Highway 2 and it was a beautiful ride.   The reason I'm talking about it is I would like other opinions besides doctors, nurses and EMTs, because I disagree with them ... (click for more)

Police Found Blood Trail From Tyrone Murphy Apartment To Murder Victim On Bailey Avenue

Chattanooga Police said, using a special detection device, they found a blood trail from the apartment of murder victim Ashley Cates to that of 57-year-old Tyrone Murphy on the same floor of an older house in Highland Park. Charges of criminal homicide and tampering with evidence were bound to the Grand Jury on Thursday against Murphy by General Sessions Court Judge Alex McVeagh. ... (click for more)

Katrina Holloway, 42, Shot And Killed On Cypress Street Court; Boyfriend Is Arrested

Katrina Holloway, 42, was shot and killed early Thursday morning, and her boyfriend, Reginald Oakley, 43, has been arrested.   Chattanooga Police responded to a person shot at 1:30 a.m. to the 1200 block of Cypress Street Court. Upon arrival, officers located the victim, who was suffering from a gunshot wound. She had succumbed to her injuries prior to police arrival. ... (click for more)

Local Tennis:: The City Starts Today - Open Singles Starts at 5 p.m.

The City is back and is all starts today at 5 p.m. at Manker Patten Tennis Center with matches in men’s and women’s open singles divisions.. A full weekend of tennis and acivities are scheduled with a player party tonight (Thursday), while Friday has men’s and women’s open matches starting at noon followed The Champions Dinner at 6 p.m. catered by 1885 Restaurant for players, ... (click for more)

Lookouts Announce That Playoff Tickets Are On Sale Beginning July 24th

The 2017 First Half North Division Champion Chattanooga Lookouts have announced that individual tickets for the Lookouts 2017 playoffs presented by CoreCivic Silverdale Detention Facility will go on sale online at Lookouts.com and over the phone on Monday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m.  Tickets start at just $6.  On Monday, fans will be able to secure their seats to the team’s ... (click for more)