The Kane Letter: Something To Talk About

Reading through copies of correspondences between Highlands Hospital lawyer
Daniel Rullo and almost duplicate information obtained from the county through
RTK, it was clearly apparent why the lawyer and hospital representatives wanted to
meet privately with Fayette County commissioners.

Earlier on, Rullo wrote on 9/5/12,
"In my view, it serves no purpose at this stage of
the discussions to re-create how this occurred and to place blame."
The "this," of
course, to which Rullo referred was that the county behavioral health director
approved Uniontown Hospital to become a county Medicaid inpatient psychiatric
provider, did not tell at least one of her bosses or Highlands for several months,
denied doing so for another several weeks and took her tiff over the matter with
one of her bosses to the newspaper after he took her silence and actions to the
media first.

The hospital reps apparently didn't want to go there, in the private meeting that
they requested with county commissioners.

Eight days later, Rullo wrote again,
"I have continued to express that it is not our
desire to revisit how we got to this point, but that a more productive discussion would
be to address a resolution."

To boot, he wrote that a day after the county behavioral health director stated to
him that she felt the hospital was stalling a meeting and attempting "to exclude
parties, like myself, from participating in fear of the truth."

She, meanwhile, kept it slinging by adding, "I find the lack of cooperation in poor
taste and damaging to me and our organization to be still defending accusations in
which your client refuses to sit and discuss face to face."

Wow, she told them! Sounds like something a smart department head should tell a
difficult provider, right?

Only in
this particular case, this department head lost credibility, having been back
to work herself only a short time, following a several week absence, during which
she denied approving the new contract and ignored a county commissioner boss'
emails to respond to his request to receive an explanation in writing how the new
contract got approved.

After that much discussed September 14th meeting with Highlands representatives
and the county never happened, there was a glimmer of hope that the county would
come to its senses, when the former chief counsel for the state's Department of
Public Welfare on 10/17/12 wrote and took issue with opposite legal opinion of the
county behavioral health department's health choices solicitor.

The differing opinion that Highlands received from the former chief counsel for the
state DPW concerned state regulations and the county's role in the process to allow
a new inpatient psychiatric hospital to become a county Medicaid behavioral health

Then, after reading the actual
letter from Attorney John A. Kane, the former
chief counsel for the state DPW, and his opposite legal opinion of the county
health choices solicitor, and Rullo's subsequent cover letter to the commissioners to
present Kane's opinion, we recall that Rullo again reiterated the hospital's desire to
meet to focus on Kane's opinion during a private meeting with commissioners.

Currently, we're still assuming that Ambrosini won't, nope, no way, meet with
Highlands Hospital reps. Commissioner Vince Zapotosky, reportedly, is still trying
to schedule a meeting with Highlands -- that is, if he can get a meeting agenda from
the hospital first.

Is there no question that he shouldn't be expected to be able to answer, in an ad lib
manner at this point, about this hospital contract, without having a prepared
answer and prior knowledge of any questions that he might be asked?

It's hard to imagine why both majority commissioners more recently gave
statements to the local paper that they didn't understand why Highlands wants to
meet and have no idea what the hospital reps want to talk about.

Attorney Rullo, all along, was quite specific and crystal clear about all of that in his
correspondences with the county.

Nobody in charge at the county should have any such doubts.

21 May 13
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