Hospital commission appoints interim CEO
By Samantha Jones
After voting to cut ties with Alliance Management Group last week, the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission has agreed to name employee Angie Shaw interim CEO of the hospital.
At a special called meeting Monday night, the commission adjourned for an executive session to discuss "personnel salary," according to chairman John House. The commission met for 15 minutes in executive session.
When the commission returned from executive session, commissioner Kent Turner moved to place Shaw in the interim CEO position at an additional compensation of $800 per week. The commission unanimously voted to approve the motion. Shaw previously served as the acting director of nursing at the hospital, House said.
At another special called meeting that night, the commission addressed the process of hiring a new CEO. House said he gets calls and emails "all the time from companies that want to come and run our hospital."
"But there is a lot of that out there, because critical access hospitals have historically been a way for people to really drive up their revenue," House said. "We need to determine whether or not we're interested in working with a company or individuals, and I think we need to be clear about it in our ad."
Commissioner Jean Reed said she wants to hire an individual.
"We really need to go in the direction of hiring an individual that settles in the community and they're there until the relationship changes for some reason," Reed said. "With the past experience with two different companies … that just feels like a transitory kind of situation."
"More like 20 different companies through the history of the hospital," House said. "That was kind of our plan with our last run of this, but things changed."
Commissioner Barbara Dicks agreed with Reed.
"If you research rural hospitals and management companies in the whole United States, it's not good," Dicks said. "So I would prefer an individual that has roots in or around this community."
House said the critical-access program was initially "very ripe for fraud," but that has changed in recent years.
"I don't think it's nearly the resource it once was for easy money … which is why we've seen a lot of failures in recent years in hospitals being run by companies," House said.
"And every one of them, their boards or commissions just handed them to them and said, 'Take care of it,' and didn't have any oversight," Dicks said
Turner moved to begin the process to select a CEO "either direct or contract employee" and to develop criteria to be published for that selection. House said the motion should include mention of a two-person committee that would bring information back to the commission.
"There's going to have to be a committee that can develop that for us," House said.
Turner said he spoke with Mayor Butch Berry, who told him that a meeting of two commissioners would require notification of the press. House said the commission's attorney looked that up for him but he'd talk to Berry about it again.
"There's some gray area with two people meeting on a committee, but as long as you're gathering information and you're bringing it back to the commission for approval … then that's OK," House said.
Turner amended his motion to state that House would appoint a two-person committee to develop criteria for the job posting and the commission unanimously agreed to approve it.
In a third special called meeting, the commission voted unanimously to approve up to $75,000 to purchase a GeneXpert system and the kits that come along with it. Commissioner Tyson Burden said the testing equipment costs $65,000, and the kits would cost at least $10,000.
The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19.