Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake Shore Hospital Authority

LSHA: Meridian CEO Don Savoie to Appear Tonight. After the Lies & Misinformation, Will the Gov's Board Bring Up Meridian Quality of Care?

LSHA: CEO Don Savoie checking his watch
Meridian CEO Don Savoie sat through the Jan. 8, 2023, LSHA meeting without saying a word. The only action he took at the meeting was checking his watch. | Columbia County Observer graphic

More LSHA stories are here.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Meridian CEO Don Savoie is making a mysterious appearance at the Lake Shore Hospital Authority Governor’s Board this evening. According to the Authority’s agenda, prepared on June 24 by part-time Authority Manager Dale Williams, Mr. Savoie is listed under new business – "status of the agreement negotiations and their proposal."

eye on the Lake City ReporterAccording to the County’s mainstream media, the Lake City Reporter (LCR), thought by many to be the mouthpiece of the Columbia County 5, the LCR reported on Dale Williams's remarks: "… Savoie asked to be put on the agenda prior to last month’s meeting, though he said he isn’t sure what Savoie will be discussing with the board.”

The article continued, “I’ve talked to Don a couple of times, but he has not said anything specific to me about what he’s coming for or why,” said Manager Williams.

However, on the week ending June 22, Manager Williams wrote on his weekly highlight: “Discussed social media comments/issues regarding Meridian Behavioral Healthcare and the July 8, 2024, LSHA Trustee meeting with Don Savoie.”

It is possible that Manager Williams and CEO Savoie discussed what he (Savoie) wasn’t going to discuss at the July 8, 2024, meeting?

The LCR also reported (July 5, 2024) that CEO Savoie told the Governors' Authority Board during its January 8, 2023 meeting: “To get a Certificate of Occupancy, you need the 112 parking spaces that go with that parking lot. To transfer the property and not have the ability to operate, basically, we would have to pay a lot of expense for something that would very quickly revert back to you if we couldn't get a Certificate of Occupancy."

CEO Savoie never made these remarks during the Jan. 8 meeting.

On December 19, 2023, CEO Savoie sent a letter to Manager Williams. Nothing was mentioned about required parking spaces.

Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) requires that facility parking spaces must be convenient and safe to the facility. No minimum distance is required. As long as the Authority provides parking for the Meridian facility, getting licensed by AHCA would not be a problem.

The back-and-forth debate regarding the separate parking lot in front of the hospital emergency room was a bogus argument from the beginning, which did nothing but cost the financiers of the Authority – the taxpayers – hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted money.

What Nobody Wants to Talk About:
The quality of care provided by Meridian

The local mainstream media, along with the County 5 and the Governor’s Authority Board refuse to discuss the quality of behavioral care provided by Meridian.

Reports about Meridian care
Meridian Behavioral Health Took Center Stage at the LSHA: Former Employee, Counselor, and Clients Gave Meridian the Thumbs Down

When brave professionals and survivors of Meridian care showed up at the Authority and testified about the horrendous conditions they found at Meridian, only one Board member dared to speak out about what just about everyone knows: Meridian's horrible reputation.

Other than the brave people who showed up at the Authority to share their Meridian experiences with the Board, the only way to get folks to speak is if their remarks are off the record.

Your reporter has spoken with a lot of people off the record. All the Meridian experiences were not good, and some were genuinely heartbreaking.

Recently, one former School Superintendent spoke to your reporter on the condition of anonymity.

The Superintendent said, "Don't talk to me about Meridian. It is horrible. They Baker Act kids, and you drive down to see them. They are all drugged up. Some of them are just sitting in chairs, rocking. There is no supervision except through a glass window. These children don't get any help. Then, after forty-eight hours, they are released."


Tonight, Meridian CEO Don Savoie is scheduled to appear at the LSHA.

Will Mr. Savoie address the quality of Meridian care and the “social media comments/issues regarding Meridian Behavioral” that he discussed with Manager Williams.

And, will the Governor’s Board finally focus on what is important regarding Meridian, its quality of care for the citizens and their children of Columbia County and surrounding areas?

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