Nashville General Hospital – Nov. 29 thoughts

Here are some things I think about Nashville General Hospital:

  • I don’t have any idea what is going to happen. It feels like options are narrowing, which is never good.
  • There are too many chefs in the kitchen. I’ve been trying to stay relatively quiet about the hospital because there are already a whole lot of people who are actively pushing various  ideas about how to “save” the hospital. Unfortunately, most of the efforts are uncoordinated and there is not a basic agreement about what “save” means.
  • I am not sure the right chef is in the kitchen, but I can’t tell. Information is too opaque to really tell who is leading, or moderating, or dictating how circumstances are unfolding. It feels like the Hospital Authority and the administration are headed toward a bad place. For you NASCAR folks, think Kyle Busch and Martin Truex at Indy this year.  See time marker 0:25 to 0:35 here.
  • Meharry has lots of leverage in whatever is going to play out here. There’s only 6 years left on the hospital building lease. Do they want to continue in the relationship after that? If so, on what terms? Metro also has lots of leverage because it has money.
  • The Hospital Authority’s request this week for $20mm is not a surprise. Ironically, this is first fiscal year in quite a while where the Hospital Authority accurately predicted its cash needs. They told us all back in May 2017 that they’d need an additional $20mm.
  • It is not just about numbers when we talk about this hospital. As Rep. Brenda Gilmore wrote in the Tennessean a few weeks ago: “For more than 125 years, Nashville General Hospital has provided care to Nashvillians, many of whom would have no other way to get medical attention.” I don’t have the voice or experiences to try to fully describe the implications of her statement. But I know she’s voicing an authentic concern that is as real as the money is.

I could add another dozen bullet points with my thoughts about things that have been announced publicly. But I don’t want to add to the “too many chefs” dynamic. That said, my number one wish this evening is that the Hospital Authority and the administration would find a way to be teammates. If they don’t, I’m concerned that we’re going to end up watching a fiery wreck.

Here, here, here, and here are my previous posts about the hospital over the last few years.

Bob Mendes

Bob Mendes represents all of Nashville as a Council-At-Large member of Nashville’s Metro Council. He is Chair of the Council’s Charter Revision Committee, a member of the Metropolitan Audit Committee, and a member of the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, Rules & Confirmations Committee, and Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. Bob also practices business law at Waypoint Law PLLC. Bob’s complete bio is here. You can follow Bob @mendesbob.