The latest El Paso Times article states that $3.5 million has been spent in the El Paso Children’s Hospital bankruptcy case. HOWEVER, that title is misleading as $3.5 million is what has been spent total by all sides. Buried in the article is the fact that UMC spent $1.9 million of your money in the bankruptcy case through the end of November of last year. That is A LOT of money. Add to that the $262,000 the County spent on their own lawyers (mostly to dispute the legal fees being billed by EPCH’s lawyers) and you have $2.162 MILLION of your money that they spent on this action. Compare that to the $1.3 million of non-tax payer money that EPCH spent on lawyers. That means that UMC and the County spent at least 1.6 times as much money (your money) on the bankruptcy as the El Paso Children’s Hospital. Of course, this number does not include the salary for UMC’s in-house council who was also involved in the case, so legal fees for UMC and the County are actually higher that $2.162 million.
Unfortunately, the bleeding won’t stop any time soon. According to a KVIA article published on January 11th, Judge Escobar said: “There are hearings for example on the consultants fees and the attorney’s fees. Those final hearings have yet to take place.” So, expect the legal fees to climb as the County continues to dispute the fees that EPCH lawyers charged for the case. Again, we have to ask, what did the tax payers get for our $2.162 million? Will the tax payers get an opportunity to dispute the legal fees that UMC and the County Commissioners built up?
So far we have found out that the new CEO of Children’s, the consultant chosen and approved by UMC and the County Commissioners, will cost $170,000 plus expenses (presumably $10,000 less than the consultant that EPCH had hired) and that the County and UMC have spent 1.6 times as much money on lawyers as EPCH. Also, County Commissioners are willing to risk losing Medicaid/Medicare money just so that they can maintain control of the El Paso Children’s Hospital. We have to ask ourselves, why is so much TAX PAYER money being thrown around? What exactly did UMC and the County Commissioner gain in this fight?