2011 Press Releases

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Initial County Task Force Recommendations to be Adopted by MetroHealth

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Media contact:
John Kohlstrand (216) 698-2099 or jkohlstrand@cuyahogacounty.us
Nicole Dailey Jones (216) 263-4602, (216) 338-0863 or ndjones@cuyahogacounty.us 

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today the MetroHealth Taskforce’s initial recommendations on ways to increase the County hospital’s transparency in operations, enhance enforcement of ethical standards, and improve communications with the County. MetroHealth has already begun to adopt many of these recommendations and will work with the County to address the remainder.

FitzGerald charged the Taskforce with reviewing the County’s historical relationship with MetroHealth and the hospital’s statuary requirements on communications and approvals from the County as well as working with the MetroHealth administration to improve its openness with the public. This review comes after consultation with County Council and questions that were raised at Council’s meetings.

“MetroHealth is one of the most critical resources in Cuyahoga County,” said FitzGerald. “I want to support it, and to assist in MetroHealth’s understanding of the public’s expectations surrounding transparency, ethics, and open competition for business opportunities.”

The following recommendations have been adopted by MetroHealth and will assist MetroHealth in being more open and active in the engagement of the public:

  1. All MetroHealth Board of Trustees materials should be posted on the Metro website.
  2. Metro should post its Human Resources/Travel Policies and any future policy and procedure manuals on the public website.
  3. Metro should post a link to the Ohio Auditor of State’s website and its listing of Metro’s annual audits.
  4. Metro should develop and publish a public version of its strategic plan.

Additionally, MetroHealth will continue to work the County staff on the following recommendations: Employee and vendor ethics; information reliability; sustained communication policies and procedures; and contracting and procurement measures. Attached is a document that fully outlines these recommendations.

The FitzGerald administration will continue to work closely with MetroHealth on the above mentioned recommendations and support MetroHealth’s ability to engage the public in a sustained and meaningful manner. “The Metro/County relationship will continue to grow this year,” said FitzGerald. “I am confident that through the Taskforce’s work as well as the new Board appointments, MetroHealth’s administration will be positioned, from a business side, to respond to Cuyahoga county residents expectations that its public institutions are open and accountable for their management decisions.”  

Additional recommendations made to MetroHealth:

Information Reliability
Metro should provide the County, on a set schedule, all Board of Trustees materials as well as financial reports, approvals and updates in electronic format as they become available. The Fiscal Officer or Budget Director will be assigned the responsibility of verifying that the distribution schedule remains in compliance with the adopted policy.

Contracting and Procurement
Metro should submit its bidding procedures and purchasing policies to the County for approval, and:

  • Procure all professional services, consultants, and contract staff through a competitive bidding or RFP/ RFQ process.
  • There should be a public, competitive process in place for any service that can be provided by more than one vendor. Metro should post it sole source and exemption from bidding policy on its website.
  • The Board should ensure that all contracts and contract employees are being evaluated. A summary of the evaluation should be made available through Metro’s website.

Employee and Vendor Ethics

  1. The MetroHealth System Board (Board) should maintain a resource that can provide or support independent investigation of Metro’s operations and practices, and given the investment of County resources in the development of the Cuyahoga County Inspector General Office, Metro should explore contracting with the Inspector General for this service.
  2. The Board should consult with the Northeast Ohio Business Ethics Coalition to develop and adopt a robust vendor ethics policy. The Board should require all vendors to complete an ethics training prior to bidding or proposing a services and, as a part of this training, to sign the membership pledge of the Northeast Ohio Business Ethics Coalition.
  3. The Board should consult with the Ohio Ethics Commission to develop and adopt a comprehensive employee business ethics policy, which should include: an employee business ethics training; a 12 month “revolving door policy”; and senior staff filing of a voluntarily Ohio Ethics Commission-Financial Disclosure Statements for 2009 and 2010. The employee ethics policies should apply to all staff, including staff hired through contracts or as consultants.

Policy and Process

To improve sustained communication, the County and Metro should establish a formalized reporting and approval policy. Possible policy or process components that can be maintained to ensure that these practices are continued include:

  • Creation of an online document repository on the public County website.
  • Approve a formal written disclosure and approval policy that is reviewed periodically.
  • Identify a single point of contact for monitoring the policy compilation of required information.
  • Coordinate County agency activity that involves working with Metro.
  • Annual verification of disclosure and approval requirements by County Fiscal Officer. 

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