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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 4:50 pm

Smith: City's healthcare decision was right, but took too long

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

One Republican Fort Wayne mayoral candidate questioned Wednesday why city officials did not sooner opt to go with one local healthcare provider rather than two.  

"I'd like to congratulate the Mayor on bringing Fort Wayne into standard business practices that the private sector has been doing for a decade," Tim Smith, who is running Republican nomination next year, said in a statement. "Given that most successful private businesses were doing the same thing 10+ years ago, my question is why did it take the city of Fort Wayne so long to make a small but substantial change that could've been made 10 years ago and saved us $45 million by now?"

City officials announced Monday that employees' insurance options will change starting Jan. 1 to reflect that Parkview Health is the city's exclusive provider organization. Previously, employees could choose between Lutheran Health Network or Parkview for healthcare services. The change is expected to save the city $4.5 million annually. 

Smith, a local businessman, said Monday's announcement is "the tip of the iceberg — just one example of career politicians failing to manage out of control budgets." 

"Forty-five million dollars would go a long way towards paying down our growing debt, improving public safety or strengthening our infrastructure," Smith wrote in his statement. 

Smith is running against City Councilman John Crawford, R-at large, in the May 2019 primary for the Republican mayoral nomination.