The Hospital Board of Commissioners met for its regular monthly meeting.
On a motion made by Board Chairman Sammy Foster, the hospital board voted to freeze all payments of invoices owed to Hammons and Associates, a local public relations firm that designs advertising and also pays for radio and television ad time purchased for the hospital. No specific concerns were raised in the public meeting to support the invoice payment freeze. The hospital management attempted to explain to Foster that the invoices were merely reimbursements to Hammons for hospital ad time on radio and television that Hammons had paid for on behalf of the hospital, but Foster would not be deterred from his determination that Hammons not be paid at this time.
The Board voted to proceed with a $105,000 project to convert a home on River Road into a clinic to move the neurosurgeons into.
A contentious discussion ensued when the accounts payable were presented to the board for approval. Some, including payroll, had already been paid, and some board members asked why they should approve items that have already been paid. Sammy Foster, Emma Bell, and Freddie White-Johnson argued that perhaps the board needed to review some of the items beforehand, while Ricky Powers stated that the board needed to allow the administration to "do its job."
When Powers disagreed with Freddie White-Johnson, she told him he needed "to shut up." Powers asked that everyone remain civil, upon which White-Johnson again told him to "shut up."
Board attorney Tom Flanagan stated that he believed that the process being used to approve the payments is proper, but that he would check further into the matter. He stated that the auditors had not raised any objections to the process for many years.
Dawne Holmes, the hospital's CFO, reported a net loss of $9.5 million for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018. Last year's net loss was $7.6 million, plus an additional one-time write down of $14.5 million due to a change in accounting standards. The net loss for 2016 was $5.7 million.
Finally, the Board went into executive session, excluding the press and the public for 46 minutes.