Hospital commission working toward settlement agreement with Allegiance

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission is getting ready to assume ownership of Eureka Springs Hospital.

On Monday night, chairman John House said Allegiance should be out of Eureka Springs on Feb. 1. House said the commission's attorney is still working to transfer the Medicare ownership to the commission. Legally he can't say much about it, House said, but the commission is working toward a settlement agreement with Allegiance.

Alliance Management Group representative Darrell Parke said the group has helped the commission secure insurance, utilities and other basic operational aspects of the hospital. The staff has agreed to stay on, Parke said, and it's up to the commission to give them a reason to do so.

"We have to heal old wounds," Parke said. "We are in a very good state operationally. Right now, we have no clue what we're going to get out of the settlement agreement."

Commissioner Michael Merry asked if the commission could possibly reject the settlement agreement and House said the commission's attorney has a good idea of what is acceptable and what is not.

"We're a little limited on what we can say," House said. "Of course, the attorneys are still doing stuff behind the scenes."

The commission moved on to approve a laundry list of measures to facilitate the transition of ownership, agreeing unanimously to the following motions: establish a lockbox account for future accounts receivable, open an operation account to run the hospital day-to-day, require two commissioners to sign to transfer money between accounts, operate payroll for all hospital employees, retain Scott Stone as chief financial officer on a month-to-month basis at $6,500 per month, move $400,000 from the money market account into the new operation account, require one commissioner and the CFO or a designated hospital employee to sign to move funds from the lockbox account to the operations account and require one commissioner and the CFO to sign to move funds from the operations account for payroll and operational expenses.

Commissioner Barbara Dicks said she's excited to work with the hospital staff.

"I just can't tell you how good those employees are. They are awesome," Dicks said. "Everybody's got each others' backs. It doesn't matter what department they're in."

Dicks continued, "They just go above and beyond. We're lucky to inherit them along with our hospital. If they can just give us a little while to get our feet on the ground, it's all going to change."

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, at 25 Norris St.

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