The new University Hospital Women's Center was dedicated recently with gleaming hallways and private pre-op rooms at $19 million thanks, in most part, to former chief executive officer of University Health Care Systems Don Bray. Mr. Bray was instrumental in building the University facility on Columbia Road -- which is now closed -- and the huge University facility in North Augusta, only a mile or so from the hospital.
He saw a need for all this new building while closing floors at University Hospital. I watched while, under his leadership, services, maintenance and cleanliness of the hospital deteriorated. Where has all the leadership's pride -- encouraging personnel to look their best, to perform their very best in giving outstanding nursing care, having the cleanest floors, rooms, elevators and equipment -- gone?
Perhaps this was not Mr. Bray's direct responsibility, but it certainly is a glaring reality of the lack of his leadership.
Where was the board of directors during his years of leadership? Surely they had to approve all these new facilities. How much time are they spending seeing that all the above negatives are improved? While spending millions on new buildings, the board continues to ask more from government to operate; it continues to raise hospital costs for all of us who use University's services. It just doesn't make sense. ...
Mr. Bray did not reach my expectations as one who knew how to lead our great University Hospital. But now, after his retirement, we are naming a new building for him? How appropriate!
His financial management over the last 20 years has left University with many beautiful buildings but less in the dignity of the service it had before him!
Hopefully the incoming officer will be a better manager and will learn from Mr. Bray's mistakes. And perhaps the board will wake up to the needs of the hospital by putting more emphasis on those needs rather than in buildings.
Heyward H. Bailey, Augusta
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