Somervell County taxpayers converged on the Expo Tuesday night to voice their concerns and hear what the county's Hospital Authority Board has learned about continuing and improving Glen Rose Medical Center's service to the community.

The Town Hall meeting, which started at 6 p.m., is the second one the board has held since beginning to oversee the hospital and nursing home operations in January.

Board members are Sharon Boone, Gary Whittle, Ernie Reinke, Bob Lancaster, Angie Robertson, Deborah Gray and Larry Shaw, the board chairman.

The meeting came too late for the Reporter to cover the event in its print edition since the newspaper goes to press late Tuesday afternoon. Check the newspaper's Web site at for a full report.

In recent months board members have heard about possible future options for the medical center, including a partnership or some other relationship with a large healthcare organization to give it more leverage to negotiate terms with managed care providers and suppliers and more recruiting power for medical staff. The board hired Community Hospital Corp.'s consulting arm to assess those options.

GRMC already has an affiliation with Baylor Health Care.

Another major issue the staff and board have grappled with is choosing an information technology company to overhaul its computer system and bring the hospital in step with the federal government's program to speed up the use of computerized medical records to help cut costs and improve care. The idea behind standardized electronic medical records is to¬-¬-¬- manage patient health better by letting physicians, nurses and other staff access and share information quickly and smoothly.

Under its economic stimulus package, the Obama administration plans to pump $19 billion into the medical industry. Hospitals that provide "meaningful use" of electronic health records can receive incentive reimbursements totaling millions of dollars. But first they have to buy the systems, install them and use them.

The board and medical staff recently went before the Somervell County Commissioners Court and won approval to seek a $2 million loan for its new IT system. The medical center has been evaluating companies and is expected to announce a decision soon.