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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2010
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Tempers flare at HCHD meeting
Houston County Courier

By Lynda Jones
Managing Editor

After a delayed start to a routine meeting of the Houston County Hospital District on Tuesday, Nov. 23, board members took care of their usual business. The meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., began about 25 minutes late while members awaited the arrival of Dr. John Stovall, president. Stovall apologized for his late arrival. There was some confusion because the meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 30. Once underway, the board quickly reviewed its minutes from the October meeting and the financial report. The total assets of the Houston County Hospital District as of Oct. 31 were $8,461,420.51. There was some discussion about the renewal of a CD that comes due on Dec. 1. The board agreed to renew it for 12 months. Another CD was renewed on Nov. 1 for $517,459.15 at 1.05 percent. Terry Cutler, ETMC Crockett administrator, reported the hospital has finished its 2009-10 fiscal year, but the fiscal year-end report is not yet available from ETMC. He explained the report has to be reviewed by auditors and he does not know when the report might be available to the board. The tone of the meeting became tense and tempers flared as Dr. Ray Morrison, board member, questioned Cutler about the use of scopes on loan by the manufacturer to Dr. Stephen Hutto, a gastroenterologist. Morrison indicated a back-up on Monday might have been alleviated if Dr. Patrick Walker had been allowed to use those scopes while other scopes were being washed. “I think if those scopes were available and he could have used them it would have been much better care for Houston County (patients),” Morrison said. Cutler said he would respond, but that it was an operational type of question that could have been answered in his office or the hallway and not in the board meeting before the public. He explained the scopes were commissioned by and brought in by Dr. Stephen Hutto, and that if another doctor wanted to use those scopes, he should ask Hutto. Cutler emphasized the scopes do not belong to ETMC or Hutto, who services several ETMC facilities. Cutler disagreed with Dr. Richard Kelley’s charge that, in the past, ETMC bought equipment and only let ETMC doctors use that equipment. Kelley contended that, in the past ETMC physicians only have been allowed to use ETMC equipment and causes “very strong discrimination” against citizens who go to other doctors and “is very much the business of the board.” Kelley asserted, “The equipment this hospital purchases needs to be for the use of Houston County patients.” Cutler agreed to investigate the current incident, reiterating, “This is a totally inappropriate venue for operational issues.” Cutler said when Hutto has finished evaluating the scopes, he will probably come ask us (ETMC) to buy the one he wants to use. No mention was made of the new Renaissance Surgical Center (opened by Morrison and Walker) or its equipment. The board expects a report from Cutler on the current incident at its next board meeting which will be in January. The board will not meet in December.


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