Dallas Co. Commissioner publicly expresses frustration with new Parkland

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by JASON WHEELER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwheelertv

WFAA

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 7:40 PM

DALLAS -- Three years into construction, the new Parkland Hospital still isn't ready to accept its first patient.

Now, impatience is growing with the county board that's overseeing the project.

The hospital's leadership didn't attend Dallas County Commissioners Court as expected Tuesday. They were verbally walloped in absentia by County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is frustrated the hospital still doesn't have a new CEO after an expensive search.

"That's my problem with Parkland; it seems to be running astray," he said. "There's nobody driving the coach."

Commissioner Price also complains that there's little detail for the project's ever-growing, taxpayer-funded construction budget.

“We don't know how much money Parkland is spending," Price said.

The hospital bill is expected to top out at at least $1.3 billion; a heftier price tag than Cowboys Stadium.

Part of the reason is that the unfinished building is 400,000 square feet bigger than planned, because every patient room in the public hospital will be private. In a statement, Parkland explains that's the "emerging industry standard," so the "expansion was the right decision."

But there are other controversies, like the proposed arched pedestrian bridge that would connect the new Parkland with the old one, and cost millions more than what was budgeted.

Hospital managers are quick to point out that taxpayers aren't footing the entire cost. They say "more than $100 million" in private funds have already been raised and that "this is the first public hospital to ever attempt a capital campaign of this magnitude."

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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