A supporter for the privatization of Sharon Hospital was the governor, John Rowland, who later resigned. Former Gov. Rowland was subsequently convicted (and sentenced to a year in federal prison) for what was essentially accepting bribes during the period that included the Sharon purchase. "People seeking to do business with the state resorted to various sleazy means to curry favor with top officials."
On July 1, 2006, Rowland spoke to an association of scholar athletes in Kingston, Rhode Island, about the lessons he learned. A "sense of entitlement" and the arrogance of power" were two of the biggest things that ended his political career, the Hartford Courant quoted him as saying.One would almost think he was talking about Hud. They probably got along well...so well that the governor wanted to seal the deal for Sharon behind closed doors, but the Attorney General of CT got involved.
He warned that the arrogance is very easy when you're put on a pedestal, and you "start to believe your own press releases. ... It [becomes] all about me. You start to block out what else is around you."
Another person of note that was encouraging the conversion to for-profit was Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, for which there were direct campaign contributions and attempt at a breakfast fund raiser at the hospital (see Breakfast...for a Price). Hud has never been terrifically shy as far as contributions.
Therrien (Sharon Hospital CEO) describes Johnson as "a true friend" of Sharon Hospital who has "been with us every step of the way, working with our staff to remove red tape and help us meet our shared vision." He did not detail the "red tape" that Johnson had helped to remove. A “paid for by” attribution at the bottom of the one-page letter said, “Paid for and Authorized by Nancy Johnson for Congress.”
But, the process of dealing with the Attorney General's office was revealing as well. Several errors were made, and documented in the findings:
55. Contrary to Mr. Connery’s July 10, 2001 testimony presented under oath that Essent had no plan, on July 17, 2001 Essent submitted a copy of an undated draft document entitled Business Plan & Due Diligence Summary, Proposed Acquisition of Sharon Corporation and Certain Affiliates in response to the Attorney General’s Request for Production, #15. Section 3 of this plan states, "Sharon Corporation and its subsidiary West Sharon Corporation, owns 13 parcels of real estate with an approximate value of $4.1 million. The total annual rent collected from the properties is approximately $430 thousand. It would be management’s intention to sell a substantial portion of these properties to offset the capital that will be committed to the property." It appears that this draft business plan was prepared in the latter part of 2000 or the early part of 2001.
70. At OHCA’s public hearing held on July 10, 2001, Mr. Connery and his associates failed to provide satisfactory answers to numerous OHCA inquiries concerning the assumptions and basis for the projections upon which the projected financial and inpatient volume statistics (with and without the proposed sale) were formulated. Mr. Connery assured OHCA that these assumptions would be submitted to OHCA during the following week with Essent’s Certificate of Need ("CON") application filing. The CON application was not officially submitted during the following week and no such assumptions and basis for the projections were ever submitted to OHCA in this proceeding by the Applicants.
72. On July 24, 2001 subsequent to OHCA’s public hearing, the Applicants submitted a "corrected spreadsheet" for Sharon Hospital showing revised estimated/actual and projected operating results and inpatient volume statistics with and without the sale of the Hospital to Essent. No assumptions or explanations of any of the numerical changes contained in the second submission of the information previously submitted to OHCA were included with the "corrected spreadsheet." In addition, there was no explanation or a breakdown of how many months included actual results and how many months were projected for the FY 2001 estimated/actual amounts.
77. Mr. Connery did not explain how "sheer stability" would directly result in the large projected increases in patient revenue and inpatient volume statistics with the sale above the levels currently experienced by the Hospital. In addition, there was no explanation given of why there were large decreases in projected inpatient volume statistics without the sale from those estimated for FY 2001, while projected outpatient volume statistics without the sale were greater in FY 2002 and FY 2003 than those levels estimated for FY 2001.
88. Essent did not submit, as requested, the Indigent and Charity Care policy of Crossroads Regional Hospital of Wentzville, Missouri for when it was known as Doctor’s Hospital prior to Essent’s purchase, nor did Essent explain the reason why the policy was not submitted.
We can say without too much fear of contradiction that a lot of the answers to those questions raised by the Findings of Fact are fairly self-evident:
- Their figures were just thrown at the wall to satisfy the hearings.
- They intended to sell off the properties included.
- They didn't want anything about Crossroads to come out.
- And, sheer stability---give me a break....