Hospital commission votes to liquidate $1.5 million CD

Thursday, April 30, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission voted at a special called meeting Monday to liquidate its $1.5 million certificate of deposit, just one week after voting to take out a line of credit against the CD.

Treasurer Barbara Dicks said she found out the commission can borrow money against its CDs only for capital improvements, saying the commission can’t take out a line of credit for payroll and general expenses. That’s what the commission had planned to do with the line of credit, Dicks said, to keep the hospital running until revenue starts to come in.

“The only option at this point is to cash in our CD for $1.5 million,” Dicks said.

Commissioner Peggy Duncan asked if the commission would still be taking out a line of credit and chairman John House said that isn’t the case.

“No, there will not be a line of credit,” House said. “We are not allowed to do that by law.”

The commission voted April 20 to take out a line of credit against the CD, with House saying the commission must take steps to ensure the hospital keeps running.

“In order to make sure we don’t have an interruption of operations, we’re going to take this money,” House said during the April 20 meeting, “which is the reason we have it, to help fund the hospital.”

At another special called meeting Monday, the commission heard from Darrell Parke, a representative of Alliance Management Group, about changing the billing and collections vendor from Fi-med to Med Host. Parke said the commission agreed to work with Fi-med for billing and collections, but hospital employees found technological incompatibilities when they started using the system. Luckily, Parke said, FI-med has agreed to release the hospital from its contract.

“When we initially put the package together for Fi-med to do it, they came in at a better price and requirements and demands,” Parke said. “It looks like Med Host has come back to compete with that and provide us with a similar or better service with a cheaper price now. We like that.”

The hospital’s ultimate goal, Parke said, is to have its own billing team in-house for both physician and technical services.

“But it’s going to take a bit for us to get that done,” Parke said. “With … Med Host coming back with a much better proposal, we wanted to switch gears and move to Med Host … for a period of time until we prepare to bring that in-house.”

Dicks moved to cancel the contract with Fi-med and initiate a contract with Med Host, and the commission unanimously agreed to do so.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, May 18.

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