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El Paso Children’s CEO cancels on town hall meeting

Tonight district 3 constituents heard from El Paso Children’s Hospital at a town hall meeting. But it wasn’t who they expected.

Rep. Emma Acosta planned the town hall two months ago, confirming Children’s CEO Mark Herbers, three times since then. But Thursday morning, he canceled. The people who were looking forward to asking him questions, weren’t happy.

Mediation, mismanagement, and taxpayer money — all topics Children’s Physician-in-Chief Brad Fuhrman was hammered with by a room of taxpayers who were expecting his boss, Herbers.

“We’re paying the bills for the Children’s Hospital right now and we don’t know what’s happening, what’s going on with the negotiations with UMC, and what the county’s going to do about the Children’s hospital, said former sheriff and taxpayer Jimmy Apodoca. “We understand that they filed bankruptcy, but we don’t have any details.”

“We planned it in May,” said Acosta. “We wanted to confirm that he was going to be here. We did it in May, we did it in June.”

Although Acosta had just confirmed with the CEO last week, it wasn’t until the day of, he decided to cancel. She was told he went out of town for the 4th of July.

“They really wanted to talk to the CEO and hear that the Children’s hospital is going to continue,” Acosta said. “The constituents, we did pass the bond to build the Children’s hospital and we believe we have a fiduciary responsibility to actually hear that the Children’s hospital will continue to operate.”

And it will, according to Fuhrman.

“Children’s hospital will continue to deliver the best of care,” Fuhrman said.

Herbers is under a lot of scrutiny since the third mediation with University Medical Center failed, leaving the fate of the hospital and a $100 million debt UMC says it owes it, in the hands of a judge.

“They are not paying the hospitals bills,” Fuhrman said. “Those are paid out of patient revenues. But the county is not paying for the operation of the hospital. The county pays for a service on the bond issue. And that would not have changed regardless of what happened with El Paso Children’s.

Acosta said she plans on rescheduling the town hall with Herbers in the fall.

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