The Daily

Recent History of Public Healthcare in Lee County, Florida

766321f6-d316-4b2c-9e0d-7223f6f90a8e_dLast week, this blog reviewed the origins of the public Lee Memorial Hospital. After its formation by the government, as the municipal Hospital System exerted its authority over healthcare in Lee County, the Federal Trade Commission brought an Anti-Trust action against it for creating a monopoly. Lee Memorial was represented by the Jones, Day law firm in Washington, DC, winning a 1994 decision that allowed it to operate as a government monopoly in Lee County.

In 1996, LMH had the Tampa office of the national law firm Foley, Lardner file its first articles of incorporation that it immediately amended to change “open membership” of the Board to a closed Board. The circumstances and reasons for that amendment are opaque.

What is not opaque is what happened next. Over the next two decades, LMH set about swallowing every private hospital operating in Lee County and building new public hospitals under its authority provided in its Charter. In addition, LMH began buying physician offices and pratices – employing the doctors and their staffs – without any express authority in their Charter.

Our next blog reviews the financial and personal injury cost of secrecy in the operation of the public health system. Transparency and accountability on the part of hospital administrations and the health care providers working in the healthcare system are key elements to obtaining the continuity in the health care system we have lacked for decades.

The Thompson Law Firm