Frank Fleischer, chairman of Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital, has resigned in a flap over his alleged involvement in a possible acquisition of the 731-bed public hospital by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
In a news conference two weeks ago, Columbia officials released a copy of a June 30, 1994, letter to Fleischer that outlined a possible joint-venture agreement or sale. Columbia officials said Fleischer requested the letter.
Fleischer did not acknowledge in his resignation letter that he requested additional information from Columbia on the proposed takeover. In fact, after former hospital President David Bussone resigned last December, Fleischer indicated no knowledge of a formal proposal from Columbia. He declined further comment.
The acquisition, which had been discussed last year by Fleischer, Columbia officials and Bussone, has since been rejected by the hospital's board. Neither Fleischer nor Bussone, who now is a Columbia employee, informed the board of the Columbia proposal, Tampa General officials said.
Meanwhile, Columbia has requested thousands of pages of telephone logs, financial records, reports and meeting transcripts, hospital officials said.
Federal and state officials are continuing their investigation into whether Bussone intentionally devalued Tampa General to prepare it for a sale to Columbia (May 8, p. 6).
State authorities also are looking into reports that Bussone deleted electronic computer records involving correspondence with Columbia, an apparent violation of Florida's public records law.