Monday, February 19, 2018
Health

Bayfront Medical Center vote could be next week

ST. PETERSBURG — The sale of Pinellas County's last independent hospital to a for-profit hospital chain could be sealed as soon as next Thursday.

Health Management Associates last week announced an agreement with Bayfront Medical Center to acquire an 80 percent controlling interest in the hospital. But the deal is pending approval of a lease by the St. Petersburg City Council, as the hospital sits on city-owned land.

Ensuring that Bayfront continues its legacy of serving the poor has been among the top concerns for council members. Some also are worried that they are being rushed into a vote.

"I feel no obligation to vote for a deal that I don't feel I am fully informed about," council member Steve Kornell, who is undecided about his vote, said Tuesday.

Mayor Bill Foster and some council members have publicly supported the deal; others have been more reluctant.

Bayfront has been struggling financially in recent years and estimates an operating loss of about 5 percent in its core patient care business for 2012, hospital spokeswoman Emily Nipps said Tuesday. But hospital officials have stressed that financial pressure was not the driving factor in their decision to partner with HMA, which they describe as a long-term play to grow and invest in new programs.

Kornell, however, was frustrated that council members have only just received a draft of the new Bayfront lease, which hospital and city lawyers have had months to discuss. Highlights of the lease include the following provisions:

• Charity care: Bayfront would continue its existing charity care policy, but the document doesn't specify how much care will be provided. Patients can qualify for charity care if their income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level and they don't get other government assistance. The definition is "fairly vague," said Kornell.

• Trauma care: Bayfront operates the only trauma center in Pinellas, an expensive operation that has taken a hit in the past year from the opening of new trauma centers in Pasco and Manatee. In the future, Bayfront would be required only to "use reasonable efforts" to maintain its trauma designation, the lease states.

• Lease terms: Bayfront's lease would be good for 50 years. The hospital has the option to renew for two additional 10-year terms. Removed from the current lease is a stipulation that Bayfront be operated as a not-for-profit.

• Non-discrimination: Bayfront — which once tried to partner with BayCare Health system, which has Catholic ties — would be required to be run as a secular hospital.

• Name: The hospital name must contain "Bayfront." It may not include references to any location but St. Petersburg, which would keep, for example, someone from putting Tampa Bay in the name.

City Council members can ask questions about the lease on Thursday at 11 a.m. at an agenda review session. A discussion is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Feb. 21, when the council could vote on the lease.

Letitia Stein can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330.

Comments
Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

70 percent of cardiac arrests outside hospitals happen at home. American Heart Association 3 a.m. Jan. 4, 2016. Lisa Peters of St. Petersburg is awakened by her husband, Rick, making strange gasping sounds. She can’t wake him. He feels cold. Only 46...
Published: 02/16/18

Step by step, ramp up your daily activity

Jae Bermanhe Washington Post There are many reasons that people avoid exercise. Time is an obvious one. Our lives are already busy — who has time to work out? Money is another common excuse. Gym memberships and equipment can get pricey.People often w...
Published: 02/16/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

Emma Seppalahe Washington PostDan Harris is co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. His first book, 10% Happier, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He later launched the 10% Happier podcast and an app called...
Published: 02/15/18

Mayo Clinic Q&A: exercise stress tests; breast self-awareness versus self-exams

DON’T SWEAT THE EXERCISE STRESS TESTI have a treadmill stress test scheduled to look for heart disease. I know this involves exercising, and I’m worried that I’m not physically up to it. Is there another way to gather this information?Yes. There’s an...
Published: 02/15/18
Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Three years ago, Dr. Philip J. Cheng, a urology resident at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, nicked himself while preparing an HIV-positive patient for surgery.Following hospital protocol, he took a one-month course of Truvada, a cocktail of t...
Published: 02/15/18
Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

TAMPA — Nothing seemed wrong or out of place when it was time for Sam Cordero to make an appointment for a routine eye exam.The 57-year-old man from Tampa occasionally saw a few bright or foggy spots in his left eye, but thought it was just "floaters...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18
A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

LARGO — Keshava Persaud entered the room inside Largo Medical Center, his wife at his side. His eyes went right to the couple across the room. They looked so young, he thought. Tears welled as he handed the woman, April Scott, 49, potted white silk f...
Published: 02/14/18
Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health has hired a new executive position to oversee the six regional hospitals it operates along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Joseph Mullany has been appointed regional president and chief executive officer of Bayfront Health, and will overse...
Published: 02/13/18