Editorial: Tenet gone for good

At long last the University of Missouri Board of Curators has abandoned plans to merge University Hospital and Clinics with Tenet Healthcare Corp.

It only took a couple of months of widespread public outcry to convince the board the deal wasn't such a good idea. Since the board's meeting in September, there have been numerous forums and rallies protesting the proposed merger.

When state legislators threatened to cut the university's funding if the deal went through, it became obvious Tenet would be left out in the cold. The only real question is why the curators continued to pursue the deal for so long?

The curators can pursue a partnership with someone besides Tenet after Nov. 30. This of course would be just as silly as the original proposal to join forces with Tenet.

University Hospitals and Clinics is doing just fine financially. They reportedly made $20 million last year. Trends toward consolidation may exist in the healthcare world, and some sort of partnership may become necessary in the distant future.

At that time, the board can explore going into business with a non-profit corporation. In particular, the proposal from University Physicians, which would restructure the university's internal setup to provide more capital, deserves consideration.

For now, there is just no reason for merging with anybody.

The state legislature should look into the motivation of the curators. Something smells rather fishy in the university's public relations campaign for the merger.

Curator John "Woody" Cozad's potential conflict of interest in the matter only muddies the waters. He probably didn't realize Tenet was one of his law firm's clients. But who knows what he and other board members aren't aware of or aren't disclosing.

The board should realize no one wants a merger. There is no justification for one and further discussion of one is ridiculous.

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