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Letter to the editor

O'Neill supports McLaren hospital plan

September 26, 2012 - Dear Editor,

Though I don't wish to be dragged into a newspaper letter writing "war," I must correct several inaccuracies in the response letters to my father's (Dr. James O'Neill) appeal to have the CON laws revisited.

The first was the statement that my father, I, or any of our partners could financially benefit from McLaren building a hospital. This would be a violation of Stark (anti-kickback) laws.

Neither McLaren nor my group would ever try to circumvent a serious federal law. Suggesting otherwise is to slander our organizations.

If anything, our group is risking increased competition from both McLaren and the inevitable new physicians that will move into the area once the hospital is completed.

We have supported this project because we know these services are long overdue in our community. Anyone who knows my father even casually is aware he would do anything to benefit his patients, something this project will certainly accomplish.

With regard to the tax exempt status of this project, I would like to point out our urgent care is not tax exempt and we do not receive any subsidies.

In fact, the Clarkston Medical Building and each of the practices located within it are all privately owned and thus NOT tax exempt. The building itself is the largest single source of property taxes in Independence Township and the combined practices in our building are the largest private employer in our township.

Additionally, our group welcomes treating people who do not have insurance and have developed a number of creative ways to make healthcare affordable for them

Our group shares my father's opinion: CON laws need to be revised, considering large population shifts have left communities like our own without inpatient hospital services.

It is a pleasure to live and practice here and we are very thankful for your support. My group is looking forward to having a state of the art community hospital that Clarkston can call its own.

Dr. Timothy O'Neill

President, Clarkston Medical Group

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