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Hospital District Board Approves FRPs For Landscaping, Communications Equipment

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Hopkins County Hospital District Board of Directors during a noon meeting Tuesday, June 28, 2022, accepted RFPS and approved bids for landscaping plants and trees as well as proposed quote for communications equipment.

Landscaping

HCHD Board received two responses to the request for prices to supply all plants and trees for landscaping for the new Hopkins County EMS station/HCHD headquarters, being constructed across the street from the current offices and the hospital. J&D Landscaping of Mount Vernon proposed providing all trees and plants for $22,000 while M&S Landscaping of Sulphur Springs’ bid was $36,000.

The budget for landscaping was set at $24,000, with the cap noted in the RFP. HCHD CEO Brent Smith noted he had fielded questions from others, but those were the ones received. Sod and irrigation aren’t part of landscaping as they will already be provided.

Front side of the new Hopkins County EMS station/Hopkins County Hospital District headquarters being constructed at the corner of Airport Road and Davis Street.

HCHD President Kerry Law asked if it would be better to wait until later in the year to plant trees as opposed to July or August. Smith noted that it will likely be mid to late September before things are ready for the plants to go in the ground.

The RFP included landscaping specifics for the number and size of trees and plants, and requires the company to stand behind their plants and trees, replacing them if needed for a year, Smith noted. Law said when the bid is awarded the contract needs to stipulate they will standby their vegetation for a year from the planting.

The board approved Tammy Wright’s recommendation to accept the $22,000 option from J&D Landscaping.

Communications

Smith asked the HCHD Board of Directors to consider approving new communications equipment at the BuyBoard price of $359,782. No new equipment has been purchase for EMS communications since 2007, and the radios they do have aren’t necessarily serviceable. EMS have managed to find some used radios they’ve purchased from online merchants when necessary to replace portable units that no longer work.

EMS

Smith noted that the county and city have over the past few years been able to obtain grant funding to replace some of their communications equipment, but even those obtained 6-7 years ago are considered antiquated by current standards.

The communications equipment proposed, Smith noted, will allow EMS to talk to everyone in the service areas, as well as on mutual aide calls with other emergency responders, including Texas A&M University-Commerce. This will make response safer for EMS personnel making emergency calls as well as beneficial in the care and treatment of patients they are dispatched to treat. The equipment will work with the current CAD system, which is still a good system, existing communications equipment in units and portables as well as new equipment being installed. This would also reduce chance of human error on calls as well.

He described the technological difference being the difference between analogue and digital mobile phone systems. As he understands it, the system should also be more secure, as it’s all cloud based. It should carry HCHD/Hopkins County EMS years into the future. Aside from the furniture, this will be the main big purchase to go into the new station/HQ in the process of being completed.

The new system he proposed purchasing too should end up saving some money annually on maintenance costs for updates and improvements. The new system, Smith estimated, would only coast $7,000-$8,000 per year compared to the $10,000 currently being spent. A warranty and training would be included in the contract at the quoted amount, Smith assured Board member Kristy Shultz.

EMS is approaching communications upgrades in a 3 phase plan. This would be phase one. The second phase would be to replace radios. He hopes to be able to apply for grant funding to help replace the old radios in the future. However, when the new radios are replaced, provided they still are in good working order, the current plan is to keep them as backup should additional radios be needed or others have to be out of service for repairs or until replacements can be found. The third phase would be replacing the current radio repeaters.

Board member Tammy Wright said the equipment is needed and made the motion to approve the purchase of new communications equipment at a rate f $359,782. Shultz seconded the motion, which then received the approval of all four board members present — Law, Shultz, Eimy Medina, Wright.

Side view from Davis Street of the new Hopkins County EMS station/Hopkins County Hospital District headquarters being constructed at the corner of Airport Road and Davis Street.

Audits

Smith also gave a brief update on a Texas Department of State Health Services and a single Audit from Forvis (formerly BKD) for nursing home facilities.

He said he was ecstatic with the way the DSHS audit went. In the past the ones he’s dealt with from DSHS and RAC have been excruciatingly painful. Only one out of 10 hospital districts awarded tobacco settlement funding have to undergo the extensive audit. HCHD was the lucky one to do so this year. DSHS did a great job. All Is were dotted and Ts crossed. The district receives about $230,000 annual tobacco audit settlement funding. He commended the HCHD team for their work getting everything ready and during the audit.

The Forvis audit of the nursing homes is going well. He said aside from tying up a few loos ends regarding the first round of COVID funding. All looks good, they are still working to get a few credit card receipts for one facility, which shouldn’t total a huge amount, rounded up and documents. The five other facilities are in.

Other information

The board approved a real estate resolution regarding the sale of Hospital District property on Davis Street, and authorized Smith to complete the property agreement. HCHD Board Attorney Tommie Allison said the resolution would need to be attached to the deed as well as a legal description for the cash deal.

The Hospital District, on behalf of the board, acting as Hopkins County Holdings, approached the city about rezoning property at 525 Church Street from a multifamily to professional office zone, and 539 Davis street from single family 10 to professional office zoning. The properties are not currently in use. HCHD applied to the city for have the properties rezoned. It received approval on first reading at the June City Council meeting and is expected to be on the July 2022 council agenda for second and final reading.

Smith too noted that the district has approved Stacy Holly to fill the final financial opening in the district. She will begin working as staff accountant on July 5. She will start working with the staff to learn how things work and jump right in.

It was also noted that Kayla Price has been named the new director for Hopkins County Healthcare Foundation, with the position falling under or at least partly under HCHD, and in line with CHRISTUS operations as well.

Smith said EMS has had a busy few weeks running calls.

He proposed the next HCHD Board of Directors meeting be conducted on July 19. He anticipates having furniture bids for the board by that meeting.

The board agreed to the date. The time of the meeting had yet to be set. The four members present said they had no preference for either a noon or evening meeting next month.

Smith said he would survey the three members who were not able to attend the June 28 meeting to see if there’s a preference. This would also allow him to have everything ready for that meeting and still allow him to prepare for the upcoming out-of-town industry conference better than having the meeting a week later, which would be the day before he leaves for the biennial conference.

The HCHD Board then entered into an executive session to discuss any Hospital District personnel, salaries and/or property matters presented for discussion and consideration since the last meeting. The meeting concluded with no action take following the closed session, Smith reported.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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