Grady Memorial Hospital takes heat for pricey out-of-town consultant

Grady Memorial Hospital spent nearly a million dollars over nearly two years flying in a New England-based consultant to run its patient revenue department.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Cheri Kane has been paid a total of $785,841 in fees and expenses from Grady since July 2007. Hospital officials are defending the expense and say Kane's work boosts revenue and has been worth the cost - even though the hospital is deep in debt and losing money.

But some Grady advocates are criticizing the long term employment of a private consultant. They say the hospital could have found similar services cheaper.