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Letter to the Editor: Indigent Care Chapter 83


Dear Editor,

The current Manatee County indigent grant agreement with Manatee Memorial Hospital and Blake Hospital says that it is consistent with the “terms and spirit” of Chapter 83-463 Law of Florida so I decided to get a copy of the law.

Chapter 83 provides that the proceeds of the sale and interest “may” ( not must)  be used to pay hospitals in the County for care and treatment of indigents, “for a period of years not to exceed 30 years.”

The 30 year restriction on the use of the proceeds is very interesting since Chapter 83 became law on June 27, 1983 the 30 years is up on June 27th 2013. Is the use of said funds after 6/27/13 for grants to the hospitals legal? Is that the reason for the rush?

Also, Chapter 83 specifically provides that the authorization to use the finds for indigent health care shall not be construed to create any “obligation or duty” on the County to provide indigent health care.

That pretty much shoots a hole in the statement that grants to local hospitals is in keeping with the “terms and spirit” of Chapter 83.

Chapter 83 provides that the county “may” not “must” use the proceeds for indigent care. Ed Hunzeker represents that it says must and even put must in the grant agreement he signed.

It is obvious that Chapter 83 contemplated the sale to a not-for-profit entity. When Universal Health bought the hospital from the non-profit 20 years ago the cost of health care escalated to provide a profit for its owner who made 498 million last year.
Richard McNulty
Manatee County


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