Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Forum CEO responds to Muransky's rant
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
YOUNGSTOWN Forum Health did not sell its Beeghly Medical Park in Boardman to local businessman Edward Muransky because his offer for the facility was below market value.
That was the explanation given by Dr. Keith Ghezzi, in a letter Friday to the Forum Health community, for why the Beeghly sale fell through.
However, Dr. Ghezzi, Forum's interim president and chief executive officer, did not respond to a charge by Muransky that Forum backed out of a $30 million price for the property that was verbally agreed to by the two men; nor did Dr. Ghezzi say what is market value of the facility.
Dr. Ghezzi did not return a Monday telephone call seeking further explanation.
During an interview Thursday, Muransky said he wanted to buy Beeghly Medical Park as a site for Valley Hospital, a joint venture among The Muransky Co., Forum Health and a group of 114 physicians.
The joint venture planned to develop a full-service, for-profit hospital in southern Mahoning County.
Muransky said he and Dr. Ghezzi "shook hands" on a price of $30 million for Beeghly. Then, about a week later, the deal was called off, said Muransky, who added the property was appraised at $43 million.
The situation was brought to a head Wednesday when MHV Management, a Muransky company, filed suit in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court seeking a judicial dissolution of Valley Hospital Ventures.
The suit, filed against Forum Health Ventures, Forum Health and Dr. Ghezzi, individually, also seeks compensatory damages.
In the suit, Muransky, owner of the Muransky Co. and Southwoods Surgery Center in Boardman, accused Forum of breach of contract and fraud. The suit says Forum officials intentionally misled MVH since late 2004 when Valley Hospital Ventures was formed.
Forum Health management said it has acted legally and ethically in all of its dealings with its partners in the Valley Hospital project.
In his letter Friday, Dr. Ghezzi said Forum Health Ventures joined the Valley Hospital partnership to ensure that Forum had a voice and a role in a facility that would otherwise have lured its physicians and patients away, thereby threatening its ability to provide a fuller range of community health care.
Also, Forum pursued the Valley Hospital partnership to enhance Forum's ability to provide and preserve high-quality care without negatively affecting existing community hospitals, Dr. Ghezzi said.
"We would have liked to see the Valley Hospital project succeed. But that success can't come at the expense of Northside Medical Center, its employees, or the comprehensive medical care that the hospital provides," Dr. Ghezzi said.
Forum's CEO also took exception to Muransky's contention that Forum's actions with respect to the Valley Hospital project threaten local access to health care.
Just the opposite is true, Dr. Ghezzi said. One of the most important guarantees of providing local access to quality health care rides on Forum doing everything it can to position Northside Medical Center for a stable, long-term future, he said.
Muransky, who previously called Forum's handling of the Valley Hospital project "mind-boggling," disagreed with Dr. Ghezzi's assessment.
Muransky said Forum's undermining of Valley Hospital Ventures is a lost opportunity for the community, as well as him personally, to enlarge the health care system, thereby providing hundreds of jobs and preserving local health-care facilities.