Talking about Chet Edwards (US House District 17) Earmark for the Glen Rose Medical Center
3 February 2009 at 8:52:07 PM
At the Town Hall meeting last night in which Gary Marks of the Glen Rose Medical Foundation/Glen Rose Medical Center presented information on why he would like to see Somervell County vote in a hospital district, there was a question raised about the earmark(s) Edwards has made to Glen Rose Medical Center. Marks said several years ago Edwards said he would work towards getting GRMC an earmark, and eventually GRMC did get approx 312,000 dollars for the purpose of equipment in the emergency room. HRSA, been allocated but not spent yet. Have to buy first and then they will reiumburse. Chet Edwards said if earmarks go through, GRMC will be included for funding for additional equipment.
Some questions about this. Any equipment that the Glen Rose Medical Foundation gets while operating the premises automatically stays with Somervell County? What was confusing me about this is that the Glen Rose Medical Foundation was asking for taxpayer involvement in an earmark that shows as going to them, but it is actually Somervell County's due to the lease agreement held with GRMF/GRMC. I'm sure I looked to the audience as though I was quibbling or dense about something that ought to be obvious, but I didn't and don't understand since it is Somervell County's equipment, really, and it's taxpayer money, why it wasn't Somervell County that applied for the grant on GRMC/GRMF's behalf.
I called up Chet Edwards office to ask about this and talked for a bit with Victoria Sykes, although more about the earmark process itself. She said that GRMC/GRMF didn't qualify for certain grants put out by HHS, but that Marks could fill out the paperwork as if and have Edwards actually work to *secure* money for the hospital via an earmark. What that essentially does it bypass the process whereby anyone who wants to get a grant is pitted against others who are also bidding for that money. I've written about this type of thing before and I don't think it's fair, and it appears to me to be a bit of a sham. Here's another example.
What happened in this instance is that, in 2006, Edwards thought he would get X amount of money for the hospital. One of our posters on the site wrote about the $700,000 that was coming to Glen Rose Medical Center in June 2006. Sometime around in there the Somervell County Commissioner's Court said they would match the earkmark and kick in $700,000 as well. But what happened, and I don't remember exactly when this was, but Congress decided to do a cutback on earmarks by a certain percentage and the amount of money that was going to go to Glen Rose Medical Center was cut back to less than half. Meanwhile the commissioner's court apparently had paid out the money to GRMC predicated on the earmark being *secured*. One of the things Chet Edwards has said he will do, and one reason why he was in town recently, was to tell GRMC that he was going to try to get the other half of the earmark he promised before. I"m sure it looks better to Edwards to say he is getting money for a hospital but the GRMF is a private foundation.
At any rate, good to know that Somervell County maintains ownership of the equipment.