Sunday, October 19, 2014

Texas Ebola Hospital Privately Owned; Emergency Room That Sent Away Nigerian Ebola Patient Is Contracted Out. CEO Of Hospital Chain Asks That We Pray.

Liberal talk radio personality Tom Hartman mentioned the other day that no one has questioned the CEO of the corporation that owns the hospital where the Texas Ebola outbreak is taking place.

Barclay Berdan - Ebola hospital CEO
That would be Barclay Berdan, who took over as CEO of Texas Health Resources on Sept 1.

Arlington, TX, based Texas Health Resources is a "non-profit" corporation that somehow managed a $40 million profit last year. The hospital  called "Presbyterian" where the outbreak is taking place -- one has died, two nurses are infected and dozens of others are being watched in quarantine -- is one of 25 owned by Texas Health Resources, which, like the private company that it contracts its emergency room services to, Emergency Medicine Consultants Ltd., which sent the Ebola patient away, has consistently scored below average on all kinds of performance measures.

Emergency room services at Texas Health Resources are contracted out to Emergency Medicine Consultants Ltd., which first looked at the Ebola patient, said he had sinus problems, gave him some antibiotics and sent him on his way. Emergency Medicine Consultants Ltd isn't responding to press inquiries and is referring questions to Texas Health Resources, which has hired "public-relations giant Burson-Marsteller" which is better equipped to deal with disasters of such magnitude, or had better be. But it was apparently when the Ebola patient returned and was admitted to a Texas Health Resources room that hospital employees were infected, which prompted "public relations giant Burson-Marsteller" to tell Texas Health Resources to issue a full page apology in the Dallas paper.

I couldn't immediately find out what Berdan's salary is. His predecessor was paid $5.71 million a year at a time Berdan was making $1.17 million as a vice president at Texas Health Resources. All the stories about him taking over the corporation, that I came across, are butt-kissing hagiographies whose authors are no doubt desperately begging for vacation leave, and make no mention of his salary or the hospital's troubles, although the Dallas Morning News has now come out with a semi hard look at Texas Health Resources, its practices, its ratings, and its behavior during the Ebola scare.

A couple days ago the first Texas Health Resources nurse who contracted Ebola issued a brief statement, which was widely reported, saying “I’m doing well and want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers.” But it wasn't actually her statement. It was a press release from Texas Health Resources -- or rather "public relations giant Burson-Marsteller" -- that goes on to quote the nurse as saying she's "blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.”

Buried at the bottom of the press release and not reported as far as I can tell is this brief statement from Berdan:

“The hearts and prayers of everyone at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas are with Nina Pham, and we are working tirelessly to help her in this courageous fight. The doctors and nurses involved with her treatment remain hopeful, and we ask for the prayers of the entire country.”

With staff morale in the dumpster, an army of TV crews stationed outside the hospital around the clock and patients fleeing the hospital in droves, Barlay Berdan is going to need them.

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