Citizen participation needed at AVH |

Citizen participation needed at AVH

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:Self-government: Use it or lose it. That’s the name of the game we played at the hospital. It almost went broke because the community did not participate in managing the hospital district’s money.The good news is that the hospital isn’t going broke. The bad news is that our political system is broken and no one has any idea how to fix it. For example, all our financial safeguards failed to prevent the public money from being mismanaged at the hospital.Our political system requires the hospital to 1) balance its annual budgets, 2) issue yearly, independent financial audits, 3) appoint a financial advisory board, 4) elect a qualified board of directors, 5) hire staff to help the public manage its business in a professional manner, 6) allow a medical foundation to make private contributions to fund some of the public hospital’s needs, 7) provide oversight of the hospital’s budgets under the growth control policies of the city and county, 8) protect whistle-blowers and 9) provide continual and full disclosure reporting of hospital business by our local, watchdog press.For several years, none of these nine safeguards prevented the hospital from causing a financial disaster. The most important safeguard of all, communitywide citizen participation in hospital affairs, has been missing for 40 years.The unpleasant financial surprise at the hospital should have shocked the public into an awareness that other ticking bombs may be waiting to explode in one or more of our 30 property-taxing districts.Our political system is broken. The majority trusts it, but fails to verify if it’s working or not. The bottom line in this accounting piece is self-government: Use it or lose a lot of money. Be Brave Comrades.KNCB MooreAspen

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