I struck up a lunchroom conversation Tuesday with Henry Davis, our medical reporter, on the deal struck between Kaleida Health and Erie County Medical Center. I had two questions: what broke the stalemate, and is it a good deal or just an expedient one?
A core of veteran doctors working for Kaleida or ECMC -- or both -- were the catalysts. About 10 of them, respected veterans, persuaded State Supreme Court Judge John Curran to insert them into the lawsuit ECMC and Erie County government had filed against the state Health Department.
"The doctors used their influence to move both sides from their hardened positions," Henry said.
Would there have been a settlement without their involvement?
"Very unlikely," he said.
A good deal?
"I would call it a potentially good deal," he said, "but it also raises questions about whether the original purpose of the Berger Commission was satisfied." And that purpose was to reduce the number of hospitals and hospital beds in the Western New York market."
So, hurrah for the docs, and let's keep an eye on the details as they are sweated out in the months ahead.