I was reminded of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” while listening to Dr. Bill Dam present the case for changing the direction of Centegra Health Systems at the Holiday Inn Wednesday.
The Fox Lake physician, who cleaned up the Fox Waterway Agency and the Village of Fox Lake, one-third of whose territory is in McHenry County, has a new cause–making Centegra Health System’s $800 million operation more transparent, less hostile to doctors, plus more responsive to community interests.
As evidence of what is at stake, Dam announced at the end of his presentation that accusations made in 2005, which were withdrawn, were sent in plain brown envelopes using a Woodstock postal meter to numerous fellow doctors and voting members of Centegra’s ruling body.
Outrage rippled through the crowd at the Holiday Inn when he told of the tactic to discredit him.
He explained how the Missouri woman who made the complaint had a history of accusing people of sexual assault, had four Social Security numbers and used her mother’s Des Plaines address to file for welfare benefits.
“This is not about how despicable Bill Dam is,” he said.
“Everybody knows that,” he said with his usual good humor.
Before then, Dam, in his customary measured delivery, went through a nineteen image Power Point presentation, which you can see here.
Let me try to give you a flavor of the meeting.
He told of the founding of the Woodstock and McHenry Hospitals by local doctors, who hired administrators.
“A rich, proud tradition,” he observed.
“All of the doctors in this room want Centegra to succeed and prosper,” he continued.
Then he noted, “There’s a great deal of discontent and dissatisfaction that cannot be swept under the run.”
Centegra is governed by 266 corporate members.
They elect a Board of Governors, which is supposed to be composed of a minimum of 20% physicians.
Two out of fourteen are now doctors, Dam pointed out.
Dam contended that did not provide a system of checks and balances.
Finding out the identities of the voting members was not easy.
“Why do you want to know?” attorney Stinespring was asked.
Even with the intervention by attorney Don Stinespring, addresses were not provided.
Comparing the 2006 list with 2013’s, “Surprisingly, almost every new member is an administrator or an administrator’s spouse in the hospital system.”
“That might possibly make them beholding to the hospital administration staff for raises and promotions,” Dam observed.
“It shouldn’t be slanted in one direction.”
Dennis Conway, a retired McHenry insurance broker was on the original 1982 Board of Governors.
He told Dam that “notices went out” seeking corporate members.
“That doesn’t happen anymore,” Dam said.
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You can read Part 2 here.
You can read Part 3 here.
At the end of the presentation, I asked Dr. Dam how one can become a member of this “not for profit” organization.
Everyone just laughed.
I guess at this point, it is by invitation only.
It reminded me of the old Chicago policitical machine that Abner Mikva talked about, from Wikipedia:
Mr Wagner, are you the past Mayor of CL . . . funny your sticking your neck out now, and even elected to the Grafton Board.
What made you want to jump into the political mess of McHenry County.
So, you have an emergency, and they save you, or a loved one, what value did you put on this?
They do a great job, this talk about pennies is just plain lame.
When you need them, the people that govern NIMC are there, everyday.
Now O’Bama care, good luck.
It is not lame talk about pennies paid to those who save you….
This is about millions, MILLIONS going to the guy at the top, who does not do anything to deserve those MILLIONS.
This is about the administration extracting what they can out of a system that cannot afford it.
By the way, the ones who save you are not those who “govern” NIMC but the nurses and the docs.
The word out there is that the CEO last set foot in the hospital 1 year ago.