ABC-7 obtains UMC board chair's notes re: Children's debt talks

UMC board chair's notes regarding Children's debt talks

EL PASO, Texas - A glimpse Thursday into University Medical Center's ongoing negotiations with El Paso Children's Hospital.

ABC-7 has obtained a personal document, prepared by UMC Board Chair Bill Hanson, regarding a plan for Children's to repay UMC tens of millions of dollars for rent and services.

Children's Board Chair Sam Legate told ABC-7 over the phone that negotiation terms are now substantially different from Hanson's personal notes. Hanson told ABC-7 on Thursday the notes are about a week old and were never approved by the UMC board. He couldn't confirm which details from his notes were carried into board discussions, but he did say one recurring theme from his notes is particularly important.

On four separate occasions, Hanson notes a condition where Children's publicly acknowledge the terms of the final agreement. One point asked that Children's issue a statement confirming the full debt balance -- Children's says it owes UMC about half of the $70 million figure used by UMC. The notes also suggest that the debt be extended over 15 years, that there be no reductions in the balance due, that the interest rate be set at a market rate, and that no payments be due for one full year.

"There could have been some discussions that talked about the same categories as what appear on this document," Hanson said. "But again, the document that's being shared between the two organizations is a separate document that was developed by our two boards in separate meetings, and has been shared between the negotiating teams of both organizations, and it's not this document."

Hanson said that he was meeting with Legate shortly after ABC-7 spoke to him Thursday, and that the UMC and Children's negotiation teams would be meeting at 5 p.m.

"I feel good that we are getting closer to an arrangement that will help to ensure that pediatric services are uninterrupted in the community," Hanson said. "And that we continue to have a strong, viable Children's Hospital, as well as a strong, viable University Medical Center. That's the objective."

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