Suitor tells MRMC he would answer questions, but not in public
By Donna Hales Phoenix Staff Writer
The chief executive officer of one of four suitors seeking to purchase Muskogee Regional Medical Center said he will answer any questions from the board, but not in public.
MRMC officials told the Phoenix last week it had “tough questions” for W. Hudson Connery Jr., president and CEO of Essent Healthcare, Inc., based in Nashville. MRMC set up a public board meeting Monday evening for Connery to answer those questions.
However, Connery wrote MRMC Board President Chris Condley on Sept. 29 that he would respond fully to questions MRMC told the Phoenix it wanted answered, but not at the public meeting.
Connery could not be reached for comment.
The board posted a note at MRMC saying the meeting was canceled because Connery declined to attend. In the letter, Connery told Condley that most of the questions already had been answered in information sent to MRMC.
Condley said the negotiations with suitors bidding for MRMC is in the analyzation phase and he could not make any comments. Condley also said it would not be appropriate for him to comment on any suitor.
Condley would not say why MRMC didn’t release Connery’s written reasoning for declining to attend the meeting.
Connery wrote that he was deeply concerned that the private proposal process — involving confidential exchanges of information by both parties — is evolving into a public proposal process.
Connery’s letter to Condley said he understood that “Essent alone of all other bidders will be asked in a public forum to answer specific bid or planning questions not publicly asked of other bidders in a process very different from that originally outlined to us.
“What’s more, to fully and truthfully answer these and other questions you may have, we must reference the private MRMC information you have provided to us, which would violate confidentiality agreements we have signed with you if used in a public setting. In brief, we believe a public discussion is an untenable process for both of us, and Essent cannot participate in it.”
Connery said he understood from a Phoenix article that some of the expressed concerns stem from Connery’s absence during MRMC’s recent visit to Paris Regional Medical Center, an Essent facility.
“It is our philosophy that the corporate CEO does not attend those visits to provide the visiting board unfettered access to local hospital leaders, physicians and community members. We believe that this practice provides visiting boards the best opportunity to see the value of our work,” Connery wrote.
It would appear that Hud is getting gun shy. Since it's a community based hospital, doesn't the community have a say??? Apparently not. As to violating confidentiality agreements, a signed waiver of liability & indemnity from the hospital would probably do the trick.
But, Essent is not a public company, and maybe they do have something to hide...as opposed to the hospital, which must maintain a higher degree of open records....
One would think that the undisclosed reason that he failed to appear might be this forum....