Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - August 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Houston County Hospital District Reduces Taxes
Houston County Courier - August 2008
By Sharron Randall
Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors met Tuesday, Aug. 18, in Classroom 2 of the nursing school at ETMC Crockett and unanimously approved the board's intent to reduce hospital district taxpayers' proposed tax rate by approximately 12 percent or .03 cents per thousand.
The calculated effective tax rate is .02910 and last year's rate is .03500. Any rate can be adopted up to the rollback rate of .03141 without any type of hearings.
Board President John Stovall asked members present how they felt about the three-cent reduction. Directors, Dr. Patrick Walker said, "It was a good cut," while Ron LaRue said that he was "glad to do something for the citizens."
Cordiality was the standard as the board reviewed and approved the June and July 2008 financial report, the minutes from the month of June, and adopted the 2008-2009 budget.
A somewhat lengthy discussion ensued about maturing CDs. Dick Murchison and LaRue agreed to check out or "shop" for the best competitive interest rates offered by investment banks in Crockett.
Dr. Walker, Dr. Ray Morrison, Dr. Kelly and Deborah Blackwell submitted conflict of interest statements to Murchison, who then read the by-laws regarding no meetings in July and December. He said than no amendment to the by-laws is necessary
In Dr. Morrison's absence, Dr. Walker reported on the resident/student living quarters proposal. Dr. Walker asked ETMC Crockett Administrator Terry Cutler to check with Tyler about building a 4,000 square building on site.
Dr. Walker also updated the board on a new grant for the surgery center. He said that $280,000 should arrive sometimes in September. The old grant got "caught up in Washington," but has been extended.
Dr. Walker said that Mark Strong, architect, would make a decision where to spend the money.
Dr. Dick Kelly said the C.O. Murray Community Clinic would be housed in the old SHARE building. Unofficially, every physician in Crockett has committed to working at the clinic to take care of "people who really fall through the cracks."
Dr. Kelly said the clinic would start off slow, screen, and records would be the "big deal."
Cutler reported that the "number one issue is nurses." ETMC is recruiting Canadian nurses through NAFTA 1994, but that Canada has a shortage of nurses also. The hospital is offering a $7,000 bonus and a referral fee to nurses who come to Crockett.
Then Cutler and Dr. Kelly participated in a detailed discussion with board members about the rural health clinic, Medicare and Medicaid, charges, medical costs, hospital procedures, and "face to face" encounters, with Dr. Kelly concluding, "We take care of people in Crockett at considerable lower rates than other places."