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Westlake Regional Hospital sale by June 30, 2012?

Report from regular meeting, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, of the Adair County Hospital Board of Trustees meeting:
Report updated at 11:11amCT, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Judge Melton interviewed after a 45 minute conversation with KACO officials and attorneys. An emergency meeting of Fiscal Court is being set. Judge Melton says that Spectrum Health Partners and the Adair County Hospital Board of Trustees must understand that they are selling a public asset, not a private corporation, and Kentucky Open Meetings laws must be strictly adhered to.


By Ed Waggener

The financials are looking better, patient counts are up, the Westlake Regional Hospital is current on all its bank payments and made a profit of $91,877 in March, 2012, the consortium of banks holding loans is not pressing for a sale, there is bipartisan opposition in Columbia over the continuing Adair County Board of Trustees contract with Spectrum Health Partners and the board and Spectrum's continued effort to transfer assets of the hospital to a "strategic partner," but the wheels appear to be in motion for a sale completion by June 30, 2012.

Details are being being kept secret from the media and the public at this time.


Speaking after the meeting adjourned, Ken Doran, in a media meeting, told a group of four local media representatives - Mike Wilson of The WAVE 92.7, Sharon Burton of the Adair County Community Voice, Paul Hayes of the Adair Progress, and Ed Waggener of ColumbiaMagazine.com - of developments in an executive session held during the meeting.

Doran said that he would be briefing magistrates in a series of meetings about the contents of the contract which he said will be voted on by the board in a Special Called meeting of the Adair County Hospital Board at 5pmCT, at Westlake Regional Hospital meeting prior to the 7pmCT meeting of Adair Fiscal Court that same night.

Doran said that the Board's position would be presented to the Adair Fiscal Court that night for its blessing. Following that Spectrum Partners, acting for the board, would begin final negotiations for the new "strategic partnership."

Judge Ann Melton is opposed to the sale as appears to be structured; that is, unless the county is immediately reimbursed the $1.7 million owed it.

But it is unclear what the board itself will do.the board's decision. Nor is it clear, at this time, what the feeling of the court where to the sale to be met by organized opposition.

Judge Melton said Wednesday morning at 11amCT, that she had been on the phone with the KACO and KACO attorneys and that they agree with her position that the Adair County Hospital Board must abide by all applicable statutes relative to Open Meetings and Sunshine Laws.

She said that means that the negotiations must come from behind closed doors and be out in the open. She said that she specifically asked the KACO attorneys about the idea of serial meetings with less than a quorum of magistrates present and that the attorneys said that is clearly illegal.

"I want the trustees and Spectrum to fully understand they are not selling a private corporation. They are negotiating the sale of a public property which belongs to the people of Adair County."

They will do that legally or face consequences, she said.

Judge Melton said that her number one job is to look out for the financial well being of the Adair County Government. "Any sale made must be made with the Adair Fiscal Court being reimbursed immediately," she said. "And there must be a plan of action in place for the entire debt of the hospital to be paid off. We have a written agreement with the hospital board on that," she said.

"I do want to make it clear that the the Board does have it in their power to sale the hospital. The court only appoints the trustees, they cannot tell them what to do."

She said that the board, then will be the one to face the consequences of public opinion with whatever decision they make. "Anyone concerned with the the matter should contact the Board of Trustees," she said.

She said she is announcing a special called meeting of the Adair County Fiscal Court for Friday, April 26, 2012, to deal with the crisis. (We have not yet received full details, but will post the notice as soon as received.)

The Board of Trustees and Spectrum Care

There does seem to be a growing bipartisan group of local leaders who are tentatively coalescing to prevent the sale or transfer and to end Spectrum Care' management of the hospital.


Board hears update on Electronic Record Keeping project

The board heard a report by Guy Shepperd and Rodger Klein on the implementation of the Electronic Record Keeping project.

Shepperd told the board that the system is on target to go live in June of this year. This will be preceded, he said, by a Mock Go Live exercise May 17-18, 2012, to test the system.

The hospital is using NextGen softwear, Mr. Shepperd said. He passed out Dell tablets, with stylus input, which will be used by providers to electronically enter notes and patient records.

The tablets input is transferred live to a center in Austin, Texas, which, he said, has redundancies to make sure the records are maintained. Security is enhanced, he said, by a feature on the tablet which wipes the memory in a short time if it is laid aside or lost.

Klein said that his Nashville, Tennessee physician's office used electronic record keeping and that he as a patient was happy they were and that the physicians were adept using the devices.

In other matters, the board heard and approved recommendations from the credentialling staff, presented by Dr. Clinton Kiteck, Chief of Staff, and approved minutes of the Regular March 27, 2012 meeting and the Special Called Meeting of Aprill 2, 2012.

The board also got a rosier financial statement from Roger Klein, Interim CFO. Who noted that patient census continues to lag, other areas in the hospital improved to account for a $91,877 net margin in March, 2012. He said that net loss for all of Westlake's operations was now $1,366,00.

Interim CEO Tim Menton reported that the Behaviorial Unit is moving ahead and that it appeared the unit would be completed by the mid-June target date. He said that the Cardio Vascular Associates have moved to a suite in the Westlake Medical Building, and that Dr. Phil Aaron's practice was off to a great start. He said that in the first full week of practice, feedback from around the community was that people are overwhelmingly happy.

A large group filled the cramped office room where the meetings are help. All trustees were there: Chairman Jim Evans and members Bruce White, Russell Guy Perkins, Josh Harden, and John Nall. Included among those in attendance were Interim CEO Timothy Menton, Interim CFOs Rodger Klein and Ken Doran, and Tammy Curry, Office Manager Cheryl Wall, Director of Housekeeping June Shackelford, Emergency Room Chief RN Celia Downey, anesthesthist Tom Wimmer, IT Director Guy Shepperd, Chief of Staff Dr. Clinton Kiteck, Barry Corbin and Gidget Warren of the Rural Health and Doctors Office management staff, Adair County Judge Executive Ann Melton and Magistrates Billy Rowe and Billy Dean Coffey, Westlake Auxiliary representative Evelyn Phelps, and members of the media.

The Adair County Hospital Board if Trustees, governing body for Westlake Regional Hospital, Westlake Healthcare Team, meets each last Tuesday at 6:30pm in the board room of Westlake Regional Hospital, 901 Westlake Drive, Columbia, KY 42728. The board consists of members James Evans, Josh Harden, John Nall, and Bruce White, and Russell Guy Perkins. The meetings are open to the public.


This story was posted on 2012-04-25 10:14:18
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