By Lynda Jones
There will be a called meeting of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors Thursday morning, Feb. 4, at 10:30 a.m. in the Houston County Medical Center cafeteria in Crockett. The agenda includes presentation, discussion and possibly take necessary action on Little River.
The Little River Healthcare System is a medical network in the Central Texas communities of Williamson, Bell, Travis and Milam counties. Its website is lrhealthcare.com.
In response to a Courier inquiry, newly elected HCHD Board President Patrick Evans said that Little River will make a presentation to the board and any community members who attend Thursday's meeting, but he does not know definitively what the presentation will be.
He explained that the Little River Healthcare System contracts with doctors who go to small, rural facilities to practice one or two days a week because they like working in small hospitals.
Little River knows how to operate hospitals with fewer than 50 beds and knows how to do so with financial success, Evans commented. They do not own any big hospitals to which they would transfer patients, which Evans views as a positive factor.
Evans said he does not know if Little River will make a proposal to lease the Houston County Medical Center and be a partner with the Houston County Hospital District, but he is hopeful.
"We need more doctors," Evans said.
He did note that Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) recently told the HCHD board that it is not interested in leasing the hospital. There had been several meetings, but no offer was made either by the HCHD board or CHI.
Evans said he hopes the community will come to Thursday's meeting and hear the Little River presentation.
Also on Thursday morning, the board also will swear in new officers at Thursday's meeting, and an executive session is on the agenda as well.
During the board's regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 26, HCHD Board President Larry Christopher submitted his resignation, effective Jan. 27.
Patrick Evans was elected board president by acclamation, and Jim Dowell was appointed to Place 6 by acclamation. These are both vacancies created by Christopher's resignation.
Carol Dawson, chair of the HCHD Nominating Committee, said the committee recommended Evans because he has been a member of the Finance Committee, and Dowell because he is experienced in business and financial issues.
Other business conducted on Jan. 26 included the unanimous approval of resolutions pertaining to the May 7 election. Board members up for re-election at that time are Place 2, Dr. Perry Ramsey, MD; Place 4, Dr. John Stovall, DDS; Place 6, Jim Dowell; and Place 8, Deborah Blackwell.
The filing deadline for each of these positions is Friday, Feb. 19, the same date as all city and school board elections. For information on how to file for a position on the HCHD ballot, prospective candidates should contact Dick Murchison's office at 500 East Houston Ave. in Crockett.
Also during the Jan. 26 meeting, Gary Kendrick, interim CEO for Houston County Medical Center, announced some administrative changes at the hospital.
Lucy Norris, interim Chief Nursing Officer, completed her final duties at HCMC with her report that two new employees, Mary J. McNeely, CRNA, and Dr. Iraj Roshan, MD, had completed their paperwork for credentialing. The HCHD board unanimously voted to approve their credentialing at HCMC.
Other business included the introduction of Marilyn Walker as the new Chief Nursing Officer at HCMC.
Kendrick said he was pleased that in addition to serving as the Chief Nursing Officer, Walker will continue to serve as the director of Women's Services. This will be a cost-saving factor, Kendrick said.
Kendrick noted that Roshan had already started working at the Houston County Rural Health Clinic on Jan. 4 and is steadily picking up new patients.
He also said more nuclear stress tests will be done at HCMC with Roshan now a member of the staff, and electrocardiograms.
Kendrick said Roshan additionally has a strong interest in doing cardio rehab on an outpatient basis in Crockett. This will prevent patients from having to go out of town two or three times a week for their rehab, Kendrick said.
Kendrick and interim Chief Financial Officer Richard Wallace will be traveling to Community Hospital Corp. (CHC) in the Dallas area on Thursday, Feb. 4, to present a business plan for HCMC.