Palm Beach Post Letter to the Editor / September 20, 2011
In response to the Sept. 10 editorial “Where are the details?”, we appreciate the important questions raised.
Recently, Scripps Florida and Tenet Healthcare Corp. announced a partnership that would result in a new Tenet hospital in Palm Beach Gardens near Scripps. The Scripps/Tenet proposal has been trumpeted as a way to bring jobs, tax revenue and biomedical research opportunities to our community. These are noble goals, goals that I strongly support. With unemployment high, state and county revenues falling and a need to find cures to diseases, such an offer could be viewed as an incredible gift. Yet like the Trojan horse of Greek mythology, this gift is deceiving.
We believe that Tenet’s promise of jobs and the magnitude of new economic activity are greatly overstated, at best. According to Tenet’s own presentation, it must decommission beds in nearby hospitals to justify a new facility. In fact, this deal could result in a net loss of jobs and revenue for our community.
If Tenet is approved to build a new hospital in Palm Beach Gardens, we anticipate that there will be an overwhelming impact on Jupiter Medical Center, harming a quality regional not-for-profit hospital that has contributed to the health care needs of our community since 1979.
We understand why Scripps finds this deal attractive. For those who are part of the race to cure diseases, the promise of $5 million annually is enticing. Jupiter Medical Center welcomed Scripps’ arrival in 2005 and has collaborated on important initiatives such as a recent cancer research project announced in July. Yet the significant setback from the Tenet proposal would far outweigh the benefits of any rent paid by Tenet to Scripps.
In the myth of the Trojan horse, those who eagerly and naively embraced the tantalizing gift without appropriate skepticism and investigation realized their mistake when it was too late. One closer look could have avoided the unforeseen damage. We believe that a careful review of the details will establish that this proposal is not the right choice for our community.
Together, we can and must continue to look for ways to attract more high-paying jobs, research funding and capital investments. However, the opportunities should add value, not jeopardize existing resources. We are eager to strengthen our partnership with Scripps, and can do so in facilities that are already built, operating and contributing to our community.
We encourage those who love this community to continue to shine a bright light on this proposed deal. By doing so, we may be able to identify opportunities for Palm Beach County that will bring about real benefits and not harm.
Editor’s note: J.R. Taddeo is chairman of Jupiter Medical Center’s board of trustees.