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City, County Bail Out Memorial Hospital
Jan 13, 2017

After a hospital auditor told the Memorial Hospital board in December that there were significant risks that impact whether the hospital can remain open, the city and county hopefully came to their rescue on Thursday evening.

The Bainbridge City Council, Decatur County Board of Commissioners and Memorial Hospital Authority held a called, joint meeting on Thursday night where they entered into a memorandum of understanding that helps Memorial Hospital to continue operating.

The MOU will allow a 15 year bond issue to be secured by the current Decatur County indigent care tax, currently capped at 2 mils, and in a worse case scenario of the hospital closing, by the City of Bainbridge. The bond issue is approximately $15 millian.

The bond issue will
Refinance the hospital's existing debt, reducing the 3.25% interest rate to a rate under 3%.
Eliminate the current $82,000 monthly payment
Set the payment schedule to 2 interest payments and 1 principal payment per year.

In the video,
Glennie Bench, Memorial Hospital Authority chairman explains the additional reasons for the bond issue as well as the recent improvements. She stated that even though the hospital still has a net loss, it has improved by 84% over last year.

Chairman Bench stated that collections have improved by 20%, the accuracy of claims have improved, as well as pre-certification levels, re-submissions and collections and some contracts have been/are being renegotiated.

"There are many other projects and initiatives and strategies that we are working to complete but those have not yet begun to see financial improvement." she continued.

Lisa Jones, a victim of the recent hospital layoffs, blamed the financial problems on hospital management. She stated "We failed to bill patients, we failed to bill insurance companies, we're giving money away and getting penalties for not doing things right.

Ms Jones stated, "The administrators that have been there looking at these things and I feel they have not interjected and now we are asking the city and the county to come and fix our money problems when the hospital didn't seem to do anything in all these years leading up to it." She stressed the need for a local hospital and stated she is afraid that the way the finances are going right now that there won't be a hospital here.

A Dec 2016 audit reported that in 2016, the hospital lost $6.3 million and in 2015 lost $4.8 million - more than $10 million the past two years. Hospital CEO Billy Walker blamed the huge losses on computer systems that were not up to date and personnel not doing their jobs correctly.

  • Oct 2016, 40 jobs were eliminated, employee benefits were modified and contracted staff reduced.
  • Sept 2016, Gregg Majors, of Dallas, Texas, named Interim CFO.
  • Aug 2016, CFO Bill Huling was terminated after $400,000 worth of deductions (the amounts not paid by insurance) and $300,000 worth of unprocessed claims that had not been processed was discovered.
  • Aug 2016, a net income loss of $983,095 was reported for July 2016

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