In case you have been out of the country or have been living in a hole, Garth Brooks is suing Integris hospital system for breech of promise. He is arguing that a $500,000 donation solicited from him by Integris was to result in a women’s facility in Yukon named after his mother. No such naming occurred. He wants his money back. Integris said “no.” Integris says they promised no such thing. Off to the court house.
Garth Brooks is no fool. He has sold 5 million more albums than the Beatles. He is second only to Elvis Presley in sales of solo albums. He is credited with making country music a worldwide phenomenon. He is no stranger to contracts and deals. More than a talented musician, he is a good businessman and well-liked by the people close to him. Who does Integris think they are messing with?
An Integris email (it’s unclear whether it is the Yukon CEO, Moore, that wrote this or someone at the Integris Foundation where the money is) said “We may not deny Garth access to the money, however, we sure as hell can make him work to get it.” Doesn’t sound like a not-for-profit, charitable outfit to me. Integris went on to spend another 27 million at the Yukon facility, according to news reports. Wonder where they got that dough?
Seriously. Did the Integris crowd think that they were so big and bad that they could wage war with Garth Brooks and somehow come out on the rosy smelling side in the public relations game? Did they think that emails like the one mentioned above (I’m sure there are others) wouldn’t surface? The Integris bunch apparently sells the naming rights to their facilities for much more than $500,000, it seems. Garth balked at a solicitation of 15 million to name an entire facility after his mother. I guess that $500,000 just isn’t enough money to get the attention of this not-for-profit outfit. So….why didn’t they just give it back if $500,000 doesn’t mean enough to them to name the building after his mother? Did they say “no” to Brook’s request for the return of his donation, thinking that they could chisel the other $14,500,000 from him they originally desired?
Oh. Then there’s this. How many times has Integris sold naming rights to their facilities? How many millions have they successfully solicited? How much do you think they paid for the naming rights of the NBA facility? I think these are all very interesting questions and have led me to believe that this little not-for-profit organization is acting as if they care about money very dearly, maybe even enough to make a profit, certainly enough to go to war with the giant Garth Brooks. Integris has been on a spending spree lately,what with the new hospitals, aggressive buying of physician practices and ad campaigns. Where did they get all of this money? Their charges for the same procedures we do at our facility are many times what we charge. Think this charitable, not-for-profit hospital has overdone the cost-shifting thing a bit?
Best of luck to the Integris Foundation in their future fund-raising attempts, particularly those that purport to return naming rights. Keep in mind that it is large hospital systems like Integris that lobbied hard for Obamacare. You know…they were going broke taking care of all of the uninsured people that came to their emergency room. Garth Brook’s lawsuit provides an insight into just how interested in money and profit these “not-for-profit” outfits are. The good news, I think, is that win or lose, Garth Brooks comes out smelling like a rose and Integris will suffer the scrutiny they have basically begged for.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.