Wednesday, September 17, 2008

$300,000 is a pittance for LGH!

On September 16, the Intelligencer Journal reported that Lancaster School Board Chairman Patrick Snyder said "...he's pleased with the proposed $1.5 million payment to the district" by the Lancaster General Hospital in lieu of paying real estate taxes. It represented a $300,000 increase from the year earlier.

Yet at the SD of L's School Board meeting that evening, a librarian from a grammar school explained patiently to the Board that his library has not received a single dollar over the past three years to replace worn out popular books or to purchase new ones. And it appears his experience is typical throughout the system's libraries due to financial constraints.

Another member of the audience implored the Board to offer appropriate compensation to attract a competent replacement for the open athletic director position in order to stop the free fall of both the physical fitness and sports programs throughout the District.

A $300,000 increase certainly is welcome but it amounts to less that 1/5th of 1% of LGH's $160 million in profits in 2007. In short, it is petty cash for LGH!

And it is so unfair for them to give so little. As was shown in NewsLanc's recent series, the LGH's vast profits, second highest in the state, are not just because of the acknowledged competence of its management and staff, but because of very special demographic conditions and its market dominance. So at least $100 million of their profits is coming from the regional public in the form of higher insurance payments, state and federal taxes, or excessive direct payments.

It is NewsLanc's contention that LGH can and should do much better, contributing at least $20 million to county-wide school districts in a manner that takes into consideration the average incomes of student families, and also donating more for public health efforts and other regional worthy causes that benefit the public at large and are especially important to the unfortunate.

When we go for years without purchasing books for our children to read, we certainly don't need to plow $160 million of the public's money into LGH management perks and unending expansion.