Thursday, March 5, 2009
Hospital requests funds from city
By BARRY BURLESON
Representatives of Alliance HealthCare System asked the City of Holly Springs to contribute $100,000 annually in support of health needs of indigent families.
Cecelia Bost, spokesperson for the hospital, presented the request to city leaders during their February 17 meeting.
“We don’t turn people away,” she said. “We treat them all.”
She submitted a letter to the mayor and board which was signed by W.A. McMillan, president of the hospital board, and James Tuttle, vice chair.
It said Alliance has been working to improve the health of the citizens of Marshall County since its inception in 1999, and the burden of caring for uninsured and underinsured citizens has increased over the past several years.
The letter thanked the board of aldermen for its support in several ways – helping change the attitudes of the community from negative to positive about the health care system; waiving utility charges for one year; getting the mayor to serve as an ex-officio member on the board of trustees; and partnering with Alliance in bringing in more than $30 million toward construction of a state-of-the-art clinic (which has already been completed) and hospital.
“The cost of health care is rising everywhere,” the letter stated, “but the Alliance HealthCare System continues to serve the health needs of all citizens in our community at the lowest cost possible. The board of trustees of Alliance HealthCare System finds it necessary to seek financial assistance to help reduce the burden of caring for the needy.”
Mayor Andre’ DeBerry said the city understands “the hospital is a valuable entity,” and the request would be considered in the 2009-10 budget year.
He also asked about the status of the plans for the new hospital. He said he saw where the Senate had approved Methodist’s request to build a 100-bed hospital in the Olive Branch area. Alliance HealthCare representatives continue to oppose that effort.
Bost said the bill has not passed the House and the State Board of Health has not ruled.
She said DeSoto County has more than an adequate amount of hospital beds.
“Sure, if they get the certificate of need (from the State Board of Health), it will impact our bottom line,” Bost said. “But our biggest concern is not patient load; they will draw staff.”
DeBerry asked about the likelihood of the House defeating the bill or the State Board of Health intervening.
“We’re hoping the bill will be defeated,” Bost said.
She said the new clinic is open near Highway 78 in the Holly Springs Commons area, and, “We plan to break ground for the new hospital in the spring. We’re proceeding with those plans.”
Alderman at-large Tim Liddy asked if most of the indigent care came through the emergency room and asked, “Are they true emergencies?”
Bost said, “Yes, a lot of the indigent care people use the emergency room as their primary care provider.”
She then asked the mayor and board about the possibility of the hospital getting some of the economic stimulus money.
DeBerry said there is “an array of projects” needed and he isn’t sure what all the stimulus package entails just yet.
In other business, the mayor and board complimented the Holly Springs Utility Department crew which traveled to Kentucky to assist following the recent ice storm.
DeBerry named Al Singh, owner of Goodfella’s, as one of his two appointees to the Tourism Board.
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