A Republican state senator in Florida has called for a public hearing in December to determine if 683-bed Tampa General Hospital should be sold to a for-profit company.
State Sen. John Grant of Tampa said the public hearing by legislators from Hillsborough County would be held Dec. 10 or Dec. 16. He supports turning over the public hospital to private ownership.
Sale of the hospital came up after Richard Scott, president and chief executive officer of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., last month expressed interest in buying the financially troubled hospital.
State law prohibits the sale of Tampa General to private groups. However, the state Legislature could grant Tampa General's 14-member governing board authority to consider options, including an offer from Columbia/HCA.
Former Tampa General President and CEO David Bussone had asked the hospital's general counsel to draft such legislation before he resigned. It became public after Mr. Bussone's replacement, Fred Karl, informed the board of its existence earlier this month.
Mr. Bussone was unavailable for comment on the legislative proposal.
Some board members have contended that Mr. Bussone had a secret agenda to convert the state's second-largest public hospital into a private institution and that Mr. Scott's interest in the hospital led to Mr. Bussone's resignation.
Mr. Bussone, however, has denied that he tried to sell the facility to a for-profit company. He has said, however, that the hospital needs more flexibility to compete with other hospitals.
Tampa General's board has scheduled a meeting Nov. 28, and Mr. Karl is expected to announce his recommendation. Tampa General Chairman Frank Fleischer supports legislation to let the board consider options, but he has said he doesn't want to sell the hospital.