The MED: One Step Away From Financial Security

On April 29, 2010, in News 2010, by Mark Norris

Mike Matthews,
April 29, 2010


Hospital tax will raise money to make sure federal money comes to hospitals
Gov. Phil Bredesen said tax is critical for Med’s financial survival
All of Shelby County’s Senators voted in favor of tax

If you wonder who put the pomp in the pomp in the pomp shu pomp shu pomp…try politicians.

There’s a lot of tradition and purple prose that is contained behind the shining brass rails that keep the members of the Tennessee State Senate inside their political cocoon.

But there are plenty of opportunities to explain things to senators, and in this case, Memphis made its point.

The Senate approved a hospital tax plan.

It won’t hurt taxpayers at all, but through a complicated financial plan it will mean more federal money coming to hospitals in need, such as the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.

And that’s not all says Senator Jim Kyle (D Memphis). “It will also provide funding for our private hospitals,” Kyle says, “such as Baptist, Methodist, St. Francis and the like. I believe we’ve taken a big step toward resolving our budget crisis.”

This is going to be one of those strange taxes. Legislators won’t be able to use the money for roads, construction, perks, any of that stuff. All the money will end up in hospitals. “None of the fees will go to the General Fund,” says Senator Mark Norris (R Collierville). “It will only be used internally and not passed on to any patients and other users in the health care delivery system.”

Well, it was probably right about that time when things started changing at the Shelby County Government Building.

They didn’t start victory dancing.

Not yet. But if the House of Representatives give the bill a big thumbs up next week, then The MED will more than likely have the long term financial security it needs.

Governor Phil Bredesen worked in the health care industry before he became Governor of Tennessee. He says this hospital tax is critical for the Med’s future.

Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford heard about the vote just moments after it was taken.

Ford got into a little political controversy when he said he “saved the Med” during an election debate.

After this news, he backed off just a bit. “It’s been The MED task force,” Mayor Ford said. “It’s been the media. It’s been the citizens of Shelby County. It’s been the Governor. It’s been the Lt. Governor. It’s been everybody in the county. The word Med is now in everybody’s vocabulary. They’re talking it. We’re making it work.”

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