By Teresa Holloway
During the regular meeting of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors on Tuesday, Aug. 25, new medical staff appointments for Houston County Medical Center were announced, along with other updates pertaining to the hospital and Air Evac.
Chief of Staff for Houston County Medical Center, Dr. Ravi Konidala, recapped the medical staff appointments to the expanding hospital cadre. The board approved all incoming staff in the August 18 meeting.
Staff appointment approvals included Dr. James Campbell, Consulting for Radiology; Dr. Pulin Patel, Kenneth Close, Benjamin Hyman and Mir Z. Alikhan, all in radiology.
CEO Gary Kendrick addressed the board with a status report. He outlined ongoing actions and was pleased to report the addition of two Physicians Assistants (PA) to the corps.
"Everyone knows that when ETMC left, a number of providers left with them. For example, in our rural health clinic, first time patients may be waiting until October for appointments," he began.
"In the last two or three weeks we have hired two Physician's Assistants. PA Whitney Hamilton will be full time starting Sept. 21. She will be seeing new patients and her regular patients from Trinity here at HCMC," he said.
"PA Lee Bonner will be coming on part-time for the clinic. Initially he will be on duty two or three days per week," Kendrick continued.
"I have talked to Dr. Josh Lucas. He has an interest in coming to Crockett possibly next summer, when he has completed his residency.... We will give him at least a letter of intent to show him we are interested in his coming here," he said.
"As you know, Air Evac was here a couple of meetings ago. We are working on the ground lease, for the hangars, quarters and office, and we are looking at a short term lease using vacant patient rooms in the OB area for sleep quarters," Kendrick added.
HCHD Board President Larry Christopher replied, "Gary, the rooms that we are refurbishing will ultimately be used for students and residents later, correct?"
"That's exactly right," replied Kendrick. "Basically what we are doing is repainting the rooms, patching holes and placing carpet. The old nursery will be used as a meeting room, and later the area will be quarters for on-site residency students."
The board additionally heard that Emergency Department usage and Admissions are higher than anticipated, according to Chief Financial Officer Richard Wallace.
The patients that do not stay are looking for medical services not yet available at HCMC, Wallace said.
In other business, Dick Murchison reported on the hospital district's monthly and year-to-date finances.
As of July 30, he stated, the Houston County Hospital District's assets totaled $13,413,932.86, including $86,061.08 cash operating funds (checking account) located at First Community Bank and a Money Market account with $440,965.08.
Also at First Community Bank, the district has a certificate of deposit (CD) valued at $1,047,136.97.
The district's total assets equal $13,413,932.86. This figure includes taxes receivable and fixed assets such as the building at 1050 East Loop 304.
The district's current liabilities, according to Murchison, total $4,202,427.27.This includes the $4,141,546.90 long-term note owed to ETMC.
As of July 30, the sum of the hospital district's total liabilities and equity was $13,413,932.86.
The check detail for July shows several large transfers to the Houston County Medical Center for operating expenses.
The transfers included the following: $300,000, July 1; $400,000, July 13; $200,000, July 16; $200,000, July 23; $250,000, July 30.
On July 21, the district paid the County of Houston (Houston County) $15,312.50 for ambulance service.
Legal and Professional fees for the month of July totaled $800. Residential housing expenses were $518.65.
The board also heard public comments. Among those speaking was Houston County Judge Erin Ford who made an unofficial appearance to praise the board.
He began by saying, "Tonight I come before you as a citizen of the county. In June, ETMC finalized the separation. At that time, the hospital wasn't in a safe place. The future of the hospital looked uncertain."
"The work that you all have done since June has been phenomenal. I am amazed that you've not only transitioned the infrastructure with the assistance of CHC, but you've actually started hiring other providers for our county," he continued.
"My background is in Detail Asset Management, so when we get into minutiae of details, cash flow and objections.... I just want to tell you that I appreciate so much what you have done as a citizen of the county. The important thing for us is to have a hospital. We must have the ability to bring our families here for treatment," Ford said.
"You guys are doing a great job with this facility," he concluded.