Badgegate: Facts & Figures Don't Add Up at the Lake Shore Hospital Authority
Posted Nov. 15, 2015 05:56 pm
Manager Berry explains the ID software to the Board.
COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last Monday night's Lake Shore Hospital Authority meeting was over in what may be a record: 14 minutes. A third of the meeting was taken up by a discussion and vote for a client ID card system. Gov. Scott's rubber-stamp board joined with Authority Manager Jack Berry in violating the Authority's procurement policy.
Manager Berry claimed he researched ID software, but gave no specifics; produced nothing in writing other than a discounted $8,000 invoice; and claimed a win-win for the Authority. The public ended up on the hook for a $6,000 software program instead of one, from the same manufacturer, which could have done what the Authority needed for $400.
The Salesman Explains: "It's a win-win"
Dowling's Terry Starling
Shortly after the Authority meeting got underway, Board Chairwoman Lory Chancy called on Authority Manager Jack Berry, "Jack, could you tell us about the computer software?"
Mr. Berry introduced salesman Terry Starling from the Jacksonville firm of Dowling Douglas and told the Board that Mr. Starling would "explain the situation." The Authority was leasing its ID software from Dowling Douglas.
Mr. Starling explained, "I hope to make this real simple. The ID system we’re currently using to process the patient cards on is kinda end-of-life. We were hosting it on an outside server [and] since you guys are capable of doing that in-house, we’re gonna take that and move it in-house and just move you to an upgrade on the software."
The Software: Mr. Starling did not explain the
up-grade. No one from the board asked about the reasons
for the upgrade.
Datacard Corporation makes 4 versions of what it
calls Datacard IDCentre™ software: Lite; Bronze; Silver;
Gold. The Bronze version, which would clearly work for
the Authority could have been purchased through EBay for
$400. An upgraded package called Basic ID could have
been purchased through
IDWholesaler for $1,065 (list price: $1,420).
The Authority paid $6,000.
The Camera: Mr. Starling did not explain that he was selling the replacement camera to the Authority for $1,495. Mr. Berry did not explain what was wrong with the camera, how it broke, or if it was out of service. IDWholesaler sells the Credential Cam Pro Photo ID Camera for a discounted price of $479. The ISG100 camera is being sold to the Authority for $1,495. IDWholesaler sells what appears to be the same model under the name of VALCam 9000-628 Zoom Camera for $1,195. See the cameras here.
This 2014 invoice tells a different story from Mr. Starling and Manager Berry. Enlarge
Mr. Starling continued, "The good part of that, you're saving about $6,000 a year. It’s a win-win for you guys. Really, all we’re doing is putting new software in and an additional camera, replacing one that is broken."
Manager Berry added, "Let me just say one thing Terry forgot to say. The web hosting company that had been hosting it is no longer willing to host. We’d have to get totally new software if we started over again and this is by far the cheapest avenue to go. And it will save us about $6,000 a year."
The January 2014 invoice clearly shows that the Authority was paying $4,235 a year for the software and web hosting, not $6,000, as Mr. Berry claimed.
The Board sat silent. Ms. Chancy asked, "Are there any questions?"
None of the Governor's appointees, all Columbia County residents, asked any questions. Board member Dr. Waseem Khan, whose homestead exemption shows he resides in Alachua County, was absent. Authority Board members must reside in Columbia County.
Ms. Chancy told the Board, "This will be interactive with all of the places we work with."
Manager Berry responded, "No, that will not happen – anymore. They’re not usin’ it to begin with and it’s an extra expense that we don’t need to be puttin’ in at this time."
Mr. Starling interjected, "But we are building a platform in case you ever decide to migrate in that direction."
Berry: replacement software could cost $30,000 to $40,000
Manager Berry continued, "Basically, the software company that owns the software has offered to sell us a copy of the software for $5,000. I’ve priced some other software and they’re in the 30’s and 40’s. We’re familiar with this and this is a win-win for everybody. We get our money back. We didn’t have to pay $6,000 this year..."
Ron Foreman, the only one to ask a question. He took Mr. Berry's word.
Mr. Starling pointed out that the Authority's software lease was expiring soon. "You’re current until December. So -- you know -- it was just timely to do all this," he said.
Board member Ron Foreman asked if the software would be current in 6 months or become outdated.
Mr. Starling answered, "No. Definitely not. Actually, this is the same platform we just rolled out to do all county schools. We are doing it across Duval County – all the schools. You’ll be on the same platform."
The Authority, according to its October figures, has 189 active members and saw 34 Authority clients in its office.
The Duval County Public Schools has 125,000+ students; 8,400+ teachers; a staff of 14,000+.
The Lake Shore Hospital Authority, counting Manager Berry, employs three people.
Manager Berry wasn't quite sure how long the Authority was using the Datacard product, "We’ve been using it for 5-6 years now," he said.
Mr. Starling helped him out, "6 years."
Manager Berry told the Board, "It will serve us for five years for the number of people we’re havin’."
Without another word and without any other information, Board member Ron Foreman said, "I’d like to make a motion based on the fact that saves $6,000 a year."
It was unanimous.
The violation of the Authority's purchasing policy; the Board's ignoring of its fiduciary responsibility to the County's citizens; Manager Berry's claim that replacement software could cost $30,000 to $40,000; and spending $6,000 for computer software that could have been purchased for $400 to $1,200 are just more examples of business as usual at the Governor Scott/Jack Berry Lake Shore Hospital Authority.