Hospital District Budget Workshop Scheduled; Officials To Seek Financing For New EMS Station

At an Aug. 12 meeting, Hopkins County Hospital District Board of Directors Wednesday heard a 2-month financial report, took another step toward construction of a new EMS station and consulted with an attorney during an executive session.

Hopkins county Hospital District Board of Directors Aug. 12, 2020 meeting

EMS Station

The hospital board at the Aug. 12 meeting gave HCHD Board President Kerry Law and HCHD CEO Folwell the OK to discuss financial institutions, and what is needed in order to pursue financing for up to 10 years for construction of a new Hopkins County EMS/Hospital District headquarters.

HCHD Board of Directors in previous meetings discussed the condition of the current EMS station, then opted to construct a new EMS/HCHD facility instead of pay for repairs on a structure that has outlived its anticipated lifespan.

Hopkins County EMS station

Three dilapidated structures owned by HCHD that are located across from the hospital were recently demolished, with the new station targeted to be constructed on that land.

HCHD COO/EMS Director Brent Smith in July said that area logistically appears to be the best location for the new EMS headquarters/HCHD administrative offices. The area beside by the current EMS station was also pitched in previous meetings as a possible site for the new building. However, that property is in an area that frequently floods and would require a lot of dirt work to elevate it to prevent flooding and water retention. That property also has a large gas pipeline spanning across the front of the property, which would require paving over in order to build the station.

Schultz, Dietze and Brown were elected in July to represent HCHD Board of Directors on a subcommittee for planning design and construction of a new EMS headquarters/HCHD building. Since HCHD Board of Directors only meets regularly every other month, authority was also granted to HCHD CEO Ron Folwell and Board President Kerry Law to execute agreements related to those processes between board meetings.

Rees Architectural and Engineering Service was also approved at the February HCHD Board meeting as architect for the project, provided an agreement could be reached regarding the firm’s fees. At the June 23 meeting, HCHD board reviewed and approved Rees Architectural and Engineering Service fees, which includes consulting services, as well as cost plus 20 percent for transportation and lodging related fees.

Three dilapidated structures owned by HCHD were torn down on Airport Road; the site has been designated as the potential location for a new Hopkins County EMS station.

Executive Session

According to the agenda, the HCHD Board discussed with an attorney “matters relating to the Lease Agreement with CHRISTUS Hopkins Health Alliance to provide certain financial support for the benefits of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs.”

The HCHD Board had the option to consider action “related to any amounts paid or to be paid by the Hopkins County Hospital District in support of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs or as provided through intergovernmental transfer to support additional Medicaid supplemental payments to CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital-Sulphur Springs.” Afterward, HCHD CEO Ron Folwell said there was discussion during executive session but no action was needed.

Financial Reports

Folwell also gave a brief updated regarding May and June financials statements. So far, revenues are a little less than those for May and June of 19. Revenue to date has totaled $5.7 million, including $4 million in rent income, and operating expenses are about $5.2 million.

The hospital district’s contribution to uncompensated care so far for the year totaled $2.5 million compared to $3.3 million last year, Folwell reported.

The Hopkins County EMS and Communications Center are operating at an estimated $519,000 loss this year, including $73,000 lost in June. This is due in part to the timing of revenue. Some has to do with reimbursements from the state, according to Folwell.

Law asked if a loss as large as the $73,000 reported in June is anticipated for the last three months of the fiscal year.

“I expect that to narrow a little bit so that by the end of the year would $750,000-$800,000 loss for the year,” Folwell said.

Brent Smith, HCHD CEO and EMS director, said a lot of the driver overages are for drivers deployed to assist around the state during COVID-19. Once all of those invoices are in, hopefully by the end of the year, Hopkins County EMS should be “close to back up right, if not over.”

“We are also waiting on the ambulance supplemental program payment that’ supposed to pay off September. I don’t know that dollar figure. Ron have you seen anything on what it was?” Smith asked. “It’s a six figure, it’s my unerstanding. So I really think we will be in a lot better shape by the end of September.”

Smith said he anticipates receiving some fuel reimbursements from the Comptroller’s Office and has been working with one of the local nursing facilities on a deal to collect owed fees.

“There has been a change with this facility. They did overnight us a check so we wouldn’t cut off their services for non-emergencies. We can’t ever cut off their services on the 911 side,” Smith said.

He reported a company financial leader from the corporate offices is scheduled to meet with HCHD/EMS staff to establish a plan for payments. He hopes that will get the facility caught up by the end of September.

Miscellaneous

HCHD Board of Directors will meet again in two weeks in the Plaza Conference Room of the CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic, 113 Airport Road; the budget for 2020-21 will be discussed during the board meeting

Tim Kelty was scheduled to be sworn in again to serve another term on the board but was not in attendance at the meeting.

The board had 4 seats up for election in May. However, at the close of filing, the only candidates were the four current board members — incumbents Dr. William “Bill” Dietze and Kelty; Chris Brown, who was appointed by the board in May of 2019 to fill Dan Roper’s unexpired seat; and Kristi Schultz, who was appointed in August of 2019 to fill the seat of Suzanne Thomas Bankston, who moved out of the district.

Dietze, Brown and Schultz were all sworn in during a July board meeting, to continue serving on the board. Kelty was not in attendance.

Author: Faith Huffman

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