Georgia Legislators To Determine Makeup Of Hutcheson Hospital Authority Board

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - by Mike O'Neal

A public notice regarding proposed changes to the makeup of Hutcheson Hospital Authority board is scheduled for publication Wednesday in the newspapers of record for Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties.

Board Chairman Corky Jewell said the original board structure, when the facility was known as Tri-County Hosptial, had been based on proportional representation based on the population of each of the three counties.

Walker, being the most populated, had four members; Catoosa, being smaller, had three members and Dade, being the least populated, had two members.

Over the years, the census of the two larger counties has increased markedly and now nearly as many people live in Catoosa as in Walker and both have far outpaced population growth in Dade.

“Today’s proportionality is 45 percent (Walker), 44 percent (Catoosa) and with Dade having the remainder, about 11 percent,” Mr. Jewell said. “Using that original schema would find Walker and Catoosa having nearly equal members and result in a 4-4-1 board.”

Dade County does not agree and declined signing an intergovernmental agreement that would have its delegation surrender one board seat to Catoosa.

“The only way this (restructuring the board) can be done without an intergovernmental agreement is by an act of the legislature,” Mr. Jewell said. “My understanding is that there must be five days when the legislature is in session after the announcement before a bill can be considered.”

Hutcheson Hospital was on the brink of insolvency in the spring of 2011 and entered a management agreement with Erlanger Health System that included financial support of a $20 million line of credit.

Both Catoosa and Walker counties pledged their support of the hospital by guaranteeing that $ 20 million loan, Dade offered moral support but no financial commitment to the venture.

Now, Hutcheson’s day-to-day operations have returned to profitability but its debt load continues to threaten its continued success. Administrators hope to relieve themselves of a portion of that debt and finance overdue upgrades to the hospital by issuing $25 million of bond anticipation notes.

Again, Catoosa and Walker counties are willing, as equal partners, to essentially co-sign a guarantee of those bonds. And again, Dade County is unwilling and unable to pledge its financial support of the hospital.

For that reason the larger counties are asking that the board’s makeup be changed if they are to each guarantee $12.5 million of the total bond — it is either a deal maker or breaker, it was stated.

“This is a mechanism by which the two counties have a guarantee of proportionate liability,” Mr. Jewell said. “This is a situation that in order for us to move forward, there must be some agreement on what needs to be done.”

After today’s announcement, the state of the hospital is now in the hands of the legislature.

 

moneal2480@comcast.net



Get Emailed Headlines From Chattanoogan.com; Like Us On Facebook, Twitter For Instant News

We send out headlines each day of the latest Chattanooga news.  Our news headlines have links that take you to the stories with a click. We also send out special emails if there is a highly significant local news story breaking so you will be aware of it quickly. To be added to the email headline list, just email us at news@chattanoogan.com In addition, like us ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADKINS, KENNETH WAYNE  REFUSED CHATTANOOGA, 37416  Age at Arrest: 42 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO COMPLY --- ANDREWS, JEFFREY NATHAN  209 ISBELL ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37419  Age at Arrest: 42 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga VIOLATION OF PROBATION ... (click for more)

Vote No On The Rezoning For A New Landfill In Harrison - And Response (3)

County Commissioners, please consider the following facts when voting on the rezoning request for a new privately-owned C&D landfill in Harrison.  Use of this property for a landfill has been rejected by the county three times in the past (1971, 1984 and 2007).  In 1971 and 2007 the County Commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal.  In 1984 the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)

Lady Canes Knocked To State Volleyball Loser's Bracket By Portland

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – East Hamilton, a relative green horn when it comes to volleyball’s biggest stage, saved its best effort of the season for Tuesday’s opening match of the 2017 state tournament against Sullivan South. Facing a five-time and defending champion from Kingsport, Tennessee, East Hamilton notched an impressive 3-0 sweep by scores of 25-22, 25-14 and 25-17. ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats Father Ryan Again To Advance At State

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The third time was not the charm for Father Ryan here at MTSU’s Murphy Center Tuesday afternoon. Facing the Baylor Lady Red Raiders in the opening round of the TSSAA D-II Class AA state volleyball tournament, the defending state runner-up Baylor squad defeated their Nashville rivals in three straight sets, winning by scores of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-23. ... (click for more)