County hospital CEO: "UMC is not being sold. UMC is not being privatized. No one will lose their job or benefits."

Here's what CEO Brian Brannman, whose facility is under assault from within and without, sent to his employees and had posted throughout the county hospital today -- an obvious attempt to reassure and quell percolating rumors:

I want to take this opportunity to address the rumors and speculation that have been widely circulating regarding the future of UMC.  You, our employees, are what keep this hospital running and providing the highest quality of care.  You are also on the front lines, and are the ambassadors of this hospital to the community and the patients we serve every day.  With that in mind, it is vital that you are accurately informed.

It is imperative that UMC remain the safety net hospital for our community.  Southern Nevadans young and old, uninsured or under-insured, are relying on UMC to provide them with the healthcare they desperately need.  In some cases, UMC is the only provider of a higher level of services to our community, such as adult trauma, pediatric trauma, transplant and burn care.  UMC is an essential thread to the fabric of our community and we must remain a viable hospital in order to meet our important mission.

Our role as this community’s safety net hospital is in no way changing. UMC is not being sold.  UMC is not being privatized.  No one will lose their job or benefits.  It's that simple.  

The care we provide isn't free, nor is it cheap.  As a result, it is incumbent upon us to ensure our financial stability.  One component to that stability is examining the way UMC is governed, which in no way changes our mission and in no way makes UMC a private entity.

Operating as a public hospital has its costs, benefits and challenges.  We are not able to make quick decisions out of the eyes of our competitors, when every discussion about business plans or strategy must be done in an open forum.  We are not seeking to erase the public transparency we have worked diligently to achieve, however we have to find a way to legitimately strategize with a governing board without our competitors listening to every detail.  We have a responsibility to our taxpayers to be financially viable.  In doing so, we must have business plans and strategies that help us to be competitive and bring in paying patients to offset the tremendous cost of being a safety net hospital.

The County Commissioners have put much thought and deliberation into the possibilities of a change in governance.  They have strong and varying opinions as to what that governance should look like.  We are still working through details of bringing a bill to the Legislature that could open up the possibilities for a change in governance.  Any change in governance would still be decided by the County Commission.

Let me be clear:  A change in governance will not change our safety net mission and will not privatize UMC.  Anything you hear to the contrary is simply not true.  And if you hear such rumors, it is important that you correct them.

In an effort to continue to keep you informed as we move through this process, I will be holding informal “question and answer” meetings after the holidays.  I hope you will make every effort to attend a meeting and ask me about anything that’s on your mind.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.