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Houston County Courier - Local News

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HCHD board signs lease contract with CMC


By Alton Porter

Plans and efforts toward reopening Houston County's hospital this spring are progress, though at a measured pace. Members of the Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) Board of Directors voted to signoff on a lease contract with the principals of Crockett Medical Center, LLC (CMC), the company the directors chose as a partner to work with them to soon reopen the hospital and operate it on into the future. The seven directors present took that action after reviewing the proposed lease agreement at a regular board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 16. It was the "big item" on the meeting's agenda, Board President Deborah Blackwell noted, opening discussion on the matter. Place 4 Director Dr. John Stovall offered the motion for HCHD signoff on the contract as presented and to enter the agreement with the limited liability company, and Place 5 Director Dr. Robert Grier seconded the motion. It carried on a unanimous vote. Directors Barbara Crowson (board secretary who occupies the Place 1 seat) and Jim Dowell (Place 6) were absent. "Congratulations," Blackwell told her fellow directors. "That's the first big step (toward reopening the hospital)." The lease will begin 120 days— four months—from Jan. 16, which will be on or about May 15, unless CMC takes possession, moves in and reopens the hospital before then. "I want to preempt this a little bit," Blackwell explained, placing the matter before the board. "This is not the final document that means that the hospital is opening. This is a negotiated lease agreement. CMC is meeting with the state tomorrow (Wednesday, Jan. 17) to facilitate the transfer of the hospital license. And one of the requirements was to have a lease in place. "It's (the lease) fairly straight forward. There will be some other ancillary agreements, which are the meat of the whole transaction … the operations agreement and the indigent and uncompensated care agreement. So, those will be negotiated next." Blackwell added, "But, at this time, we do have a final document that's been reviewed by Crockett Medical Center and the district and our related attorneys. Each board member has received the lease. "Some of the key points I'll just


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