Hospital passes 2016 budget

Estimating gross revenues of $67,865,378, the Board of Directors for the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority passed the 2016 budget at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 29.

CEO/Administrator of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Art Evans said after expenditures and contractual adjustments with insurance companies, the hospital is expected to realize a slight profit for the year.

The hospital board voted to expedite a bridge loan from the City of Demopolis by authorizing Evans to write a letter of intent. The letter will state the THA will use other properties as collateral for the loan.

The City Council voted at its last meeting to approve the loan of just under $1 million until the $926,000 grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes through in about six months, said Evans.

With the loan the hospital will be able to begin work on hospital improvements. The city owns the hospital building and grounds, but the THA has other property surrounding it that can be used as collateral.

The board also gave approval to hiring a firm to study the hospital’s strategic planning and make recommendations for eliminating or adding services. However, the proposal was approved only if a third party will pay for the study.

Evans said officials from the county have expressed an interest in hiring Quorum Consultants to assess the hospital. The board’s Public Partnership Committee, headed by Thomas Moore, will meet with city and county officials to see if they would be willing to pay for the service.

In other action, the board approved a resolution to authorize a separate checking account at Robertson Banking Company for the hospital’s gift shop. The move will make it easier for the shop to purchase merchandize and pay bills.

In his report to the board, Evans encouraged board members to obtain trustee certification from the Alabama Hospital Association.

He bragged on the nine-member board who are “very engaged and very involved,” he said.

Evans said the second floor of the hospital now houses only the Geri-Psych and Self Recovery units and the ICU in anticipation of work to be done for the 10-bed psychiatric ward. All other patients have been moved to the third floor.

The hospital is doing all the work it can until plans for the new ward are approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health and actual construction can begin. He said the unit should be operational in April or May of 2016.

The board also approved the reappointment of Dr. Laura Bunch, oncology; Dr. Gregory Broughton, urology; and Drs. Adam Harris and Maria Oquendo, emergency medicine.

To accommodate the holiday scheduling, the next board meeting will be Dec. 10.