Douglas concerned over public trust in FAHC

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(Bob Kinzel) Governor-elect Jim Douglas says the most important issue facing Fletcher Allen is the restoration of public confidence in the hospital. Douglas is concerned that the ongoing problems at Fletcher Allen will undermine public confidence in the hospital and will badly damage the morale of the hospital’s staff – a development that could affect patient care.

Douglas says he has full faith in the ability of Fletcher Allen President Ed Colodny to guide the hospital through this difficult period and the governor-elect says the new report is a step in the right direction. But Douglas says the report raises some troubling questions about the operations of Fletcher Allen:

(Douglas) “I’m very concerned about the situation at Fletcher Allen. It’s clear from the conclusion of that report that there’s been a gross breach of trust. And ultimately the board of trustees of Fletcher Allen is responsible for governing the institution. They’re accountable for the steps that were taken and the mistakes that were made.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says he doesn’t want to prejudge the outcome of several federal and state investigations into this case, but he made it clear that he plans to launch a comprehensive review of the state’s role in overseeing this project as soon as he takes office in January:

(Douglas) “We need to restore the public’s trust in this vital community institution. I’m concerned about the oversight process that led to the situation in which we find ourselves. I’m going to order the new commissioner of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration, after the first of the year, to review the role of that department in this process, to determine if any mistakes were made in the oversight system, and to make recommendations to improve it in the future.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says he’s withholding judgment concerning how many of the hospital’s 18 trustees should be removed from the board until all the investigations have been completed.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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