Jeff Smith 2:30 p.m., June 26
Scripps Florida Stirs Hornets' Nest with New Hospital Plan
Back in 2003 and 2004, then-Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida seduced La Jolla's Scripps Research Institute into setting up an operation in Palm Beach County. The grease: $600 million in subsidies from both the state and the county. Scripps took the money and set up its research facility.
It was soon followed by other San Diego research facilities, also wooed with huge subsidies. Now Scripps finds itself in a big controversy. It plans to construct a new teaching hospital in Palm Beach Gardens with publicly-held Tenet Healthcare.
But, as the Palm Beach Post reports, Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration makes sure that a new hospital won't duplicate existing services in the area. One nearby hospital has 67% occupancy, another 46.6%, a third 78%. Jupiter Medical Center's chief executive will protest to the agency, saying that the new hospital will be "Tenet's play to move into this market under the guise of academic medicine," according to the Post.
As far as I know (but I could be wrong), the Post didn't mention one thing: who do you suppose is on the board of Tenet? You guessed it. Jeb Bush.