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AVH made right call

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:I read Eben Harrell’s July 8 article, “Hospital misses deadline for audit.” Although the story appears factual, I believe it also boarders on sensationally misleading the public.Since last fall, I have closely monitored AVH’s efforts to correct their broken financial and accounting systems. As a resident of Aspen and professor at an MBA school in Chicago, I have attended many of AVH’s public meetings and studied their financial statements – all through the eyes of someone who has analyzed the financial statements of many troubled corporations. Given this, the people now running AVH’s fiscal systems have impressed me as honest, hard-working, and best of all, dedicated to restoring the financial health of one of Aspen’s most critical community assets. This is not to say the process has been painless, especially for those who lost their jobs, but I believe real progress has been achieved.In reading your article, I was reminded of the “State of the World” conference taking place in Aspen this weekend and sponsored by The Sopris Foundation. Its theme, and the underlying mission of the McBrides’, is to pursue truth, which, once understood, will foster ideas and promote actions for a better world. At the same time, I just read an interview published in Aspen Peak magazine with Walter Isaacson, former CEO of CNN News Group and current president and CEO of The Aspen Institute. In it, Isaacson speaks of his concern about how the media both “pulls us apart” and “does better with controversy.”In this spirit, I profess the “truth” is that AVH’s decision to delay the release of their audit should be reported as the most responsible course of action available to them – and in the best interest of sustaining the overall integrity of AVH. We know that financial markets tend to function optimally when information about institutions is both timely and accurate. However, the case for AVH when they wisely fired their unreliable auditors presented a difficult choice between releasing their audit report as “timely but inaccurate” or “delayed [only two months late] yet accurate.” I and a host of Nobel Prize-winning economists would generally side with the latter. Let the truth be known that if AVH continues to improve the accuracy and timeliness of their financial statements, while concurrently improving their performance, lending institutions will surely forget and forgive them for this temporary setback. Perhaps The Aspen Times could do more to emulate the philosophies of their hometown and world-famous organizations? If so, might your article’s title have been: “Hospital chooses accuracy over timeliness for audit”? Matt WilliamsAspen


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