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HCHD Lease Discussions With Little River Healthcare Progress

By Alton Porter
Courier Reporter
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Officials of the Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) optimistically thought they would be able to approve lease and related agreements with Little River Healthcare (LRH), Houston County Medical Center's (HCMC) current overseer, at their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 23.

The officials gave notice that they would take "possible action to approve" a lease and the related agreements with LRH and placed the item on the board of director's agenda for the meeting.

However, when it came time on the agenda at the meeting to go into closed, executive session to discuss the items, Board President Deborah Blackwell announced the board would not be returning to open, public session after the closed session to act on the agreements. She stated that the matter will be taken up at a future meeting.

On the agenda, an item indicated the board would go into executive session. During the closed session, the board was to discuss a lease agreement with Little River, an operations transfer agreement with Little River and an indigent care affiliation agreement with Little River, according to the agenda in the notice.

Then, after the executive session, the board was to reconvene "to discuss and possibly take action on items discussed" in the closed session, according to the posted agenda.

However, at the point just before the board closed the open, public part of the meeting to go into executive session, Blackwell said, "We're going to ... go into executive session. We were optimistic to think that we were going to really be able to finalize anything tonight.

"We're just going to go again and discuss the lease agreement, operations transfer agreement and indigent care agreement we're going to be signing with Little River. But, we will not be coming back to take action tonight (in open session). That will probably be in a future special, called meeting."

Little River Healthcare currently only has an administrative and management agreement with the HCHD for the HCMC.