Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
HCHD prepares governors visit
Houston County Courier - November 2009
By Daphne Hereford
CROCKETT – Members of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors discussed plans for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony of the Rural Physicians Education Center on Monday, Nov. 23 that will include appearances by Texas Governor Rick Perry, State Representative Chuck Hopson, Dr. John Bowling of Texas college of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. David McClellan of Texas A&M University and several other noted dignitaries.
During the Tuesday, Nov. 17 meeting, HCHD Board Member Dr. Ray Morrison, said the governor is scheduled to speak about 4:30-5 p.m. and the events that include a formal ribbon cutting ceremony will continue until 6 p.m.
The ceremonies will be held in a tented area in the parking lot adjacent to the EMS building and the Rural Physicians Education Center.
Students currently living at the center will serve as tour guides for the formal opening. Dr. Morrison said the invitations were sent to state medical education panels as well as the Senate and House of Representatives.
He said Governor Perry is expected to address the facility as a model for health care facilities across the state.
Dr. Morrison said he had been working with the governor’s office in preparation for the event.
HCHD President Dr. John Stovall said, “This facility is a great asset to the community.”
Dr. Morrison praised the HCHD board for their efforts in making the vision of the project become a reality.
Dr. Morrison said the tent for the event would cost about $300 and Charlie Bobbitt would charge for the sound system and that a friend of Thea Daigle would cater the event, providing cookies and punch, at a cost of about $300.
In other business, Dick Murchison reported that the district had total assets of $8.403,537.18, of which $3,126,918.61 was the total in the checking and savings.
During discussion of the deposit detail, Murchison reported that $1,300 was rent income from a resident of RPEC who had agreed to pay the district $50 per night that he took advantage of the facility. The board agreed to offer the anesthetist a discount rate of $600 per month as an option to the more expensive daily rate.
Murchison also reported that the district owed the architect $80,000 for work associated with plans as part of the surgical center grant but that they were having difficulty drawing from the funds. He said they have submitted a progress report and will continue to seek the funding.
HCHD Board Member Dr. Patrick Walker said that the surgical center could be completed for $2.5 million and that the project was “shovel ready.”
ETMC was not represented at the meeting. Dr. Morrison said that ETMC Administrator Terry Cutler was out of town.
During public comments, Margaret Rothrock, administrator of Community Care Center of Crockett addressed the board with her concerns about ETMC advertisements on billboards, in the newspaper and on the radio.
“I am here to voice a concern regarding ETMC and the image portrayed by our hospital within the community,” she said.
“Several months ago two billboards featuring ETMC and the administrator of a local nursing home went up. In addition, ETMC began running weekly newspaper ads, and daily radio ads featuring ETMC in conjunction with the same facility,” she added.
She continued, “The ads are for ETMC and are meant to advertise ETMC. I assume that ETMC had no intent to help or hurt one local business over another. The perception within the community has been different, I have been asked, ‘Does ETMC own Whitehall?’ I have actually begun to wonder that myself as well as who paid for this advertising?”
“I have spoken to Terry Cutler regarding the advertising and he indicated this was done by the marketing department and he was unaware of how it initiated,” she said.
In closing she said, “We hope in the future that the hospital will focus on educating the community by portraying all local nursing homes as positive assets to Crockett.”
HCHD Board Member Carol Dawson asked Ms. Rothrock if she had considered addressing the board of directors of ETMC.
HCHD Board Member Dr. Walker said, “Any attempts to get them (ETMC) to do the right thing have been met with opposition.”