The Copper Basin Hospital Board of Trustees members talked about the bylaws, payment for Dr. Siddiqui, and possible replacements for out-going member Randy Collins duirng their July meeting. Following the meeting, CEO Anna Clark responded to comments made at a county commission meeting that she was leaving the hospital. Clark said it was not true, and that if she was going to resign she would not do so via the rumor-mill.
A bylaws committee made up of Frank Shinpaugh, Jack Collins, and Doug Collins was formed during the meeting. Clark told the board the attorney said they could continue to operate as a district board and committees, but there were things that needed to be added to the bylaws. She said there were things like performance meetings that could not be done publicly. Shinpaugh asked if the attorney was going to tell them what changes needed to be made, or if they told the attorney what to do. He said they were taking over for the corporate board, and asked what happened to their bylaws. Jack Collins said the District Board was a standing board before the corporate board existed and their bylaws couldn’t conflict with the Private Act. He said it was up to the board to go look over both of them any eliminate any conflict.
Clark said they needed to decide if they were going to use Roberts Rules of Order or how they were going to conduct meetings. She said that needed to be included in the bylaws. Jack Collins suggested they collectively come up with ideas. He said Executive Assistant Carina Walker could come up with what was required by federal law.
Shinpaugh asked about attendance requirement for meetings. He suggested someone needed to “hold the bucket” of ideas. Shinpaugh made a motion to form a committee to meet to go over everything.
Doug Collins asked if that was a committee he could set up, or if they needed to utilize the executive committee. Shinpaugh said that was something else that should be in the bylaws. Collins read through the Private Act, which indicated there could be special committees. Mitchell Hicks suggested ideas from other board members could be sent to Walker to keep everything together.
“We’ve got to make progress,” Shinpaugh said. “We’re doing more things than we used to do. We need to have rules to protect ourselves,” Shinpaugh said. Shinpaugh asked if Walker could come to the bylaws committee meeting. Bea Tallent suggested Walker had information the board members did not.
Hicks asked if there had been a determination from the attorney in regards to questions brought up last month about the ER contract. Doug Collins said the attorney had the material but had not made a determination.
Collins said he spoke to Dr. Mahmood Siddiqui, asking him if he would want the ER contract back if something happened with the new contract. Collins said Siddiqui said he would not. Hicks said he thought Siddiqui wanted to get paid for the work he had already done.
Clark said she had spoken to Siddiqui, and an arrangement had been made. She said Siddiqui would be paid when they received TennCare money in September. Hicks said Siddiqui’s contract said it could not be amended unless agreed to by both parties, so it stood. Jack Collins said it had given them a black eye to lose Siddiqui. Doug Collins said he was still there, but was not referring anyone to the hospital. “Think about it Doug, do you blame him,” Hicks asked. Doug Collins said no, but that they needed to move forward for the sake of the hospital and people.
Jack Collins asked about the new ER contract and whether or not they were paying more now. Ron O’Neal said they (the new ER staff) were in the same boat as the hospital now. Clark said the hospital was coming out ahead.
Clark said the pro fees were $25,000-$30,000 a month from Dr. Siddiqui, and that the new ER staff had “skin in the game.” She said with the new ER staff, transfers were down by half and admits had gone up. Hicks asked if Clark could provide a report for the last twelve months to see how much came in; Clark said yes.
The board also discussed potential replacements for Randy Collins, who has turned in his resignation from the board. O’Neal said he had spoken with James Talley, who said he would come on the board. Jack Collins suggested Raymond Allison. Doug Collins asked Kathy Stewart to join. Stewart, who was on hand at the meeting, said Copperhill was part of it and she would be glad to serve. The names will be submitted to the county commission.
Sinpaugh told the board the financial committee had heard from the Tennessee Justice Center. He said they worked with other hospitals who were facing the same issues as CBMC. Doug Collins said they learned about what other hospitals had done and what not to do. He said when hospitals got desperate, folks are like wolves.
Sinpaugh said they learned that 1200 Polk citizens could be insured if Tennessee had participated in the Affordable Care Act. He said it all stemmed from the state not wanting to do it just for the sake of not doing it. Clark said she thought it would come up again in January.
Clark said representatives from Erlanger did an on-site visit and would likely want another round of data. She said she thought there was still interest. Clark said Erlanger fit well in Bledsoe County and she hoped for the same thing here. Clark also told the board a new surgeon, Tom Ross, would begin working at the hospital on August 9th. She said patients were already lined up. Clark said Dr. Ross was from Ellijay, where a hospital had closed. She said Surgical Associated from Cleveland would not be coming anymore.