Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

January 26, 2012

Who did Integris’s Moore Take the Fall For?

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 1:54 pm

Garth Brooks wins.  The jury actually wanted to award him more money than the judge had instructed them was the maximum.  According to news reports, the jury took all of fifteen minutes to decide the amount of the punitive damages.  Brooks got his $500,000 back and an additional $500,000 in punitive damages, the maximum according to law. 

Brooks afterwards praised the jurors for their courage (hmm..why would this verdict require courage?).  The Integris spokesman stated that they would consider an appeal.  Yes, he said that.

One of my partners made a great point yesterday regarding this lawsuit.  Imagine for a moment that you are an MBA student at Harvard or the Wharton School of Business.  The professor places the following scenario before the class for discussion:  You operate a large not-for-profit business that receives a $500,000 donation from a local celebrity with whom a misunderstanding subsequently ensues.  Do you: A)give him his money back as he requests or B)go to court to fight it out, all the while knowing that your brand is now covered in mud?

The answer to this is so clear there must be more to the story.  There has to be.  Here are some questions.  Who was the source of the email to the CEO,  Moore, from the Integris Foundation that was so damning in this case, the one that stated Integris’s intention to make Garth Brooks work hard as hell to get his money back?  Rumor has it that an audio recording of someone at Integris Foundation calling Brooks “a dumb country singer” was influential with the jury as well.  What exactly is the relationship between Integris and the Integris Foundation?  What on earth was going through the minds of the folks at the Integris foundation when they took this giant celebrity on?  Why was Moore hung out to dry?  Was he taking a fall for someone else?  Someone at the Integris Foundation, perhaps?  If Moore was rogue in his actions, Integris would have fired him and given Brooks his money back, I think.  The newspaper said that Integris made $200,000,000 in one recent year.  What?  I thought they were not-for-profit.  That’s pretty good for going broke from their emergency room losses for the indigent.  Oh.  And I guess they really did need the revenue from the provider tax!   Where did this money go?  Did it go to the Integris foundation?  Is this just a spill over company serving to soak up the giant profits of this outfit?  How can anyone watch all of the TV commercials and print materials coming from Integris and take them and their supposed “mission” seriously now?  How can someone not see an affiliation with Integris at this point as a black mark, a liability?  Think they’ve overdone the cost-shifting thing a bit?  Think that insurance companies that funnel people they cover to Integris preferentially will have some explaining to do regarding their arrangements with this bunch?

I could go on.  My point is that this lawsuit has raised more questions than I think the folks at Integris would have liked.  It sounds to me like Brooks hit a brick wall in his attempts to get his money back and sued them, only to find Integris all too willing to return it.  But by that time Brooks was pissed, and rightly so.  Moore, the Canadian Valley CEO,  wasn’t acting on his own, more than likely, although he certainly took the fall for the mothership.   How was he convinced to assume this role?  If Integris has the hubris to appeal this ruling, perhaps we’ll get answers to some of these questions.

I think I’ll call the Integris Foundation and offer them $50 for the naming rights for their next building.  Might be the best offer they’ll get for a decade.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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