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


Smith Says New Freeway Ties To Hamilton Place Will Bring "Huge Improvement In Traffic For The Entire Area"

City Councilman Ken Smith said new direct ties between the I-75 freeway and the Hamilton Place area will bring "a huge improvement in traffic for the entire area." Councilman Larry Grohn praised CBL & Associates for putting up the city's $8 million share of the $40 million project. He said it has been 8-10 years in the making. The council unanimously approved moving ... (click for more)

City Paying $226,000 To Rent Garbage Trucks Until New Ones Arrive

The city is paying $226,000 to rent garbage trucks until new ones arrive. Lee Norris, public works administrator, said new trucks are on order, but are delayed in arriving. He said, "In the meantime, I'm not going to let garbage sit on the ground." The lease from Big Truck Rental was deemed an emergency purchase. Mr. Norris said the new automated side loader trucks for ... (click for more)

In Agreement With Rep. Womick's Bill

I agree wholeheartedly with the bill by Rep. Womick that county clerks only marry couples of the opposite sex, but I doubt that the present Supreme Stupids would change the position of the court and fear that the time, energy and money spent to defend a legal action brought by the liberal supporters of the present state of the law would be for nothing.  There is a higher ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Very Silly Apology

It didn’t get a lot of attention, as well it should not have, but when I heard Japanese giant Mitsubishi was offered an apology for heinous war crimes that took place during World War II, I thought it was an ill-conceived publicity stunt. But, no, in a solemn ceremony last month hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, that is exactly what ... (click for more)

UTC Football: First Practice To A National Title

Monday was the first day of pre-season practice for the UTC football team with 33 days to the season opener with Jacksonville (Ala.) State and 159 days (Jan.9, 2016) to the FCS title game in Frisco, Texas. The last time UTC played in Texas was half a century ago at North Texas State (Denton) in 1966.   “The first day of practice is always exciting as it’s the start ... (click for more)

Jones Press Conference Kicks Off Vols' Preseason

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones held his preseason football press conference on Monday at Neyland Stadium. Jones heads into his third season with visible enthusiasm after the Vols finished off the 2014 season with an impressive win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, following that up with another nationally ranked recruiting class. "In terms of our football team, we ... (click for more)