Fayette: Sunshine & Moonshine On The Rocks
Before the courthouse shut down Friday, messages started to flow in here that one county department
head was parked behind an alcoholic beverage on a bar stool, at a local watering hole. The first reader to
be in touch couldn't remember the department head's name or even which county office she heads and
"You know, the one you hate," Reader 1 wrote back, thinking he had clarified the matter. His little
happy hour, undoubtedly, had been more than just a little while underway.
"I hate nobody," I replied.
"Mental health," he must have remembered.
"I don't hate her. I expected better from her," I tried to explain in as few words as possible.
"Anyway," he continued, "she's here with some older guy. Thought you would want to know."
I thanked him, of course, but wondered to myself why he thought that I would want to know. Being so
close to the end of her work day, I had to chuckle. This close to her quitting time was progress. There
was no story unless this was a second or third bar stop on the clock or unless someone was driving a
county car and drinking.
There really wasn't even a morsel of a story until Reader 3 or so identified who the county department
head was sharing a drink with in the smokers' bar room. We're certainly glad to have heard that she
was with one of her county commissioner bosses, Fayette County Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini,
drinking on a Friday work afternoon at the bar. If she were on the clock drinking in a bar, who better to
be next to her? So far, still no real story. Or is there?
What's most unreasonable about the county chairman's continued refusal to meet with Highlands
Hospital representatives is that he has met with all the other key people in the psych hospital contract
It has been 14 months since the county behavioral health director approved Uniontown Hospital to be
issued a county behavioral health Medicaid provider number and contract and didn't tell at least two of
her three bosses. It has been 10 months since the Highlands CEO learned that the county behavioral
health director approved that other contract and wrote her letter asking for answers to the
It has also been 10 months since the county behavioral health director denied to a county commissioner
and the hospital CEO in a phone conference call that she approved the Uniontown contract. And it has
been 9 months now, since the county behavioral health director finally admitted to a county
commissioner last August, that she the previous March had given verbal approval to the county
Medicaid behavioral health care provider to add Uniontown to the county Medicaid provider list.
Why all the drama?
Perhaps the county commission chair and the county behavioral health director had planned to go
clubbing together Friday afternoon before they heard from Highland Hospital's lawyer. Perhaps not. It's
irrelevant, even if they had not read the email yet or knew that it existed.
The point is that they were meeting for some time Friday afternoon after Highlands requested to meet
privately with individual commissioners. Our point here of taking issue with Ambrosini's stubborn
refusal to actually do something positive to resolve a problem is because he meets and meets with
everyone else in the psych hospital contract mess.
6 May 13
Next day's Editor's Note:
Something else that Ambrosini said in his "interview" today in the local paper keeps coming to mind in
a painfully gnawing kind of way, similar to getting a toothache on vacation.
We all know that Highlands met up with the former chief counsel for the state's Department of Welfare
and that gentleman disputed and ripped apart opinion from the county behavioral health/health choices
solicitor from Harrisburg. As we know, that former chief counsel for the entire state department of
public welfare wrote opinion to support Highland's belief that the county improperly approved
Uniontown's behavioral health Medicaid contract.
One of the most unbelievable things that Ambrosini has said to the media to date was in today's article,
when he wondered why Highlands wanted to meet if they weren't going to bring someone from the state
department of welfare with them. He behaves as though the letter from Attorney Kane that Highlands
has is a forgery or something.
Why isn't he listening to the opinion with more respect? Why would Kane have to appear to read the
letter in person to impress Ambrosini enough to want to meet? First, Ambrosini says in today's paper
that he won't meet at all till there's a public meeting -- then he says something else like that to indicate
that he might meet if Kane or someone from the state with Kane's shared opinion were attending.
Quickly, would someone at the courthouse read Ambrosini Kane's letter, please?
7 May 13