Hospital Contract Causes Lengthy Discussion at Hospital Board Meeting
Two months after the Claiborne County Hospital Board approved a recommendation for a contract with Mercy Health Partners questions arose regarding the possibility of another contract.
“My understanding is that there have been other entities interested in the management of the hospital,” said board member Rob Asbury.
He went on to explain that County Mayor Joe Tyler Duncan said he had been contacted by two other health systems who were interested in a contract with the Hospital. Mayor Duncan told members of the board that he had been in contact with Covenant Health and another entity from
“Several court members are wanting to compare apples to apples,” said
Duncan made the suggestion to the board to rescind the motion they made two months ago recommending the Mercy contract and re-advertise a workshop for others to attend as well.
Some board members expressed immediate concerns with the small amount of time the board has before the hospital’s current contract expires on July 1, 2009. Board member Lindsey Cadle expressed concerns regarding the reason the recommendation the board made two months ago was removed from the
Cadle said she did not mind to hear from the other entities, but she felt it would have been best if the commission had been given the chance to vote on the original recommendation instead of rescinding the motion and starting over.
Asbury mentioned he was concerned as to whether or not the workshops the board held were adequately advertised and if any other interested entities were informed of the workshops.
During the discussion Mayor Duncan said he had been contacted by a representative from Covenant health almost a year ago regarding the contract. He added that he had in fact kept in contact with that representative, but said because the representative was not able to receive a copy of the hospital’s 2008 audit the individual did not feel Covenant could make an adequate proposal.
A question was asked saying why did Covenant need the audit information? Board members replied saying none of the entities had access to the audit information.
Asbury asked Mayor Duncan directly, “Why didn’t Covenant come to the workshops held by the board?”
Mayor Duncan replied saying, “Because I didn’t feel like we were ready for them to come.”
The discussion then changed and Dr.
The discussion then turned back to the management contract with Mercy and board member Mike Robertson said it would take an impressive contract presentation to change his mind about Mercy. He said he still supported the contract with Mercy and felt they were the right choice, but did say he was open to hear other contract proposals if that was the pleasure of the board.
Asbury continued to express concern with the amount of advertising the hospital did for the workshops and asked to see the advertisements that were run in the local papers. After reviewing the ads Asbury concluded that legally the board did do everything they were required to advertise the workshops, but he felt the wording of the ad should have been simpler.
After further discussion most all board members agreed that the workshops had in fact been adequately advertised and that they were happy with the contract Mercy had presented. The board felt the original motion recommending the contract with Mercy should go on to be voted on by the county commission.
Cadle said she feels the board needs to see how the commission will vote. If they do not approve the recommendation then the board will have no choice but to start the process over.
Mayor Duncan assured the board the recommendation would be on the May agenda of the county commission and would not be removed as it was in March and April.
In other business Controller Jessica Justice reported that the hospital financial report was still in the red for the past month. She said there have been problems in the contractual department and billing department, but felt those problems, which were a result of back log, would be cleared up by May’s meeting.