Hospital commission asks retiring CFO to extend contract

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Eureka Springs Hospital Commission is saying goodbye to longtime chief financial officer Scott Stone, but the commissioners hope to retain Stone for a couple of months after his contract is set to expire.

At a special called meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 10, commissioner Tyson Burden explained that Stone is planning to sell his business and leave his position at the hospital when his contract expires on Jan. 31. Burden said Stone has suggested that the commission contract with the person buying his business, Brent Seay.

"Part of that buy was the hospital contract," Burden said, saying he met with Seay on a Zoom call. "He's a real nice guy."

Burden said Seay has a lot of CPA tech experience and has worked with Walmart over the last couple of years. Seay has a contract he'd like the commission to sign, Burden said, to continue the agreement the commission has with Stone. According to the proposed contract, Seay would be paid $3,000 biweekly for a period of 12 months.

"I will say he doesn't have any hospital experience at all, so that's something to consider," Burden said. "I tried to get him to commit to at least three days a week. He said that he would commit three days a week except for tax season, and then that would be two days a week."

Burden said Seay would be paid about $15,000 to $20,000 less than a full-time CFO that would spend five days a week in the hospital.

"Do we want to hire a CFO for $15,000 to $20,000 more that would be there five days a week?" Burden asked. "I think eventually we need to hire a CFO that's familiar enough with Medhost that they can just rattle off, 'Humana pays this on a CT code.' We need that kind of data to move forward with our strategy with where we're going."

Commissioner Kent Turner said the future CEO of the hospital should be the person hiring a CFO and chairman John House pointed out that former management company Allegiance Health Management initially hired Stone. House said the commission can't sign a long-term contract without putting it out for bid, so it would be impossible for the commission to make a decision on Seay's proposed contract on the spot.

"The only thing we're going to be able to do is set up some sort of stopgap measure to keep all that going," House said.

Commissioner Jean Reed asked if Stone would be willing to stay on for another two months, which would give the commission time to hire a CEO. The CEO could then hire a new CFO, Reed said.

"I'd say this is an opportunity to get someone with a healthcare financial background, because it's very different from any business," Reed said.

House said he wouldn't be opposed to working with Seay but only on a temporary basis.

"He's welcome to apply for the job full time once we have our new CEO in place and that gets situated," House said. "Because of the limitations we have being a city-operated enterprise we have to follow these rules as far as putting it out for bid."

Burden said Seay wants a new contract, which would require the commission to send out a request for proposals. Commissioner Barbara Dicks said she'd vote to sign the contract for another year and Turner said the commission can't sign a one-year contract without putting out a request for proposals.

Turner moved to "start discussion with Scott Stone to determine whether it is possible to extend his current contract for an additional 60 days to allow time to find the new CEO" and the commission voted unanimously to do so.

In another special meeting that night, the commission unanimously agreed to purchase the Imprivata system after hearing from IT coordinator Drew Wood. Wood said laws will go into effect on Jan. 1 that require the hospital to have two-factor authentication to prescribe controlled substances and said Imprivata is much better than the system the hospital has now.

It would cost $55,000 in total, Wood said, but that cost would be split across three years. That means the cost will be written off in the cost report, Wood said.

"So it basically doesn't end up costing us anything," Wood said.

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