The views expressed in this piece are solely my own, informed by a substantial 38-year career in healthcare finance.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital currently faces significant financial challenges, seen by many as some of its most daunting periods. It is crucial for the administration to maintain consistent integrity and professionalism, especially in the realm of financial management. 

We are at a critical juncture. From my firsthand experience, it’s during such times that senior leaders might contemplate resigning. This is when the concept of taking a hefty severance package emerges as particularly tempting.

Considering that the hospital is operating on borrowed funds, which will inevitably have to be returned, these resources should be prioritized for vital operational necessities and infrastructure development, inclusive of staff compensation.

Furthermore, with the reputation of a potential purchasing entity now being examined, the call for financial transparency from the hospital’s administration is paramount. A chief concern is the potential “golden parachute” for the hospital’s administrators. It would be ethically questionable for these administrators, who essentially steered the ship into turbulent waters, to request substantial severance or buyout deals. Their continued hefty compensation contrasts sharply with the dedication and responsibility they owe to the institution and its beneficiaries.

I urge the HHMH Board of Directors, the San Benito County Civil Grand Jury, and the broader community to stay alert. As external funds, potentially nearing $10 million, start entering, every cent must be allocated wisely. 

The onus is on all stakeholders to guarantee that, no matter the outcome, this period is remembered for decisions made with the highest level of integrity.

Lou Wilmington


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