Somervell County commissioners continued their discussion on the creation of a hospital authority on Monday.
Commissioners unanimously voted on Aug. 31 to authorize the county attorney to pursue an establishment of a hospital authority. The talk was prompted by a letter, dated Aug. 26, from the Glen Rose Medical Foundation Board, which recommended “the re-establishment of the Somervell Healthcare Authority and the transfer of the lease to this governmental organization.”
“I have an order prepared for the commissioners to consider,” county attorney Ron Hankins said Monday.
Hankins said the proposed order was similar to the one adopted in 1993 with seven directors serving on the hospital authority. Commissioners will have the opportunity to assign directors for either three, two or one year terms.
“It just depends on how you want to split them up,” Hankins said.
While the agenda item was discussed thoroughly, commissioners did not adopt the order or appoint directors on Monday. Commissioner Mike Ford said they were still in the process of selecting candidates.
“I think it’s our responsibility as a court to come up with names,” he said. “We’ve all been thinking about people to put on that board. My concern is that October deadline. Regardless of what some might think, spending an additional $40,000 to $60,000 on auditing is not (favorable).”
Hankins recommended transitioning from one entity to another at the end of the year.
“The Oct. 1 deadline was putting us in a bind,” he said. “It looks like the foundation can continue to manage under their lease until the end of the year.”
Ford said he felt that if the commissioners put their heads together they could come up with a list of names within a week of people who could potentially serve as directors.
County Judge Walter Maynard reminded the court and the audience that once directors were appointed, the new hospital authority would be responsible for its operation and decisions.
“We said we are going to look at all avenues, but that doesn’t mean a new hospital authority will follow our direction. We are just giving total authority away and assuming those people will act on our good will,” he said. “We are going to be blamed for whatever is going on - we already are.”
Hankins told the court that they would ultimately be responsible for the means to operate the hospital authority and slight direction could be provided.
“To give direction to the authority is not a problem,” he said.
Hankins also said that an interlocal agreement will be established between the county and the hospital authority.
“I am just a little concerned,” Maynard said. “I know it’s out of our hands once we appoint directors; people don’t understand that. That interlocal agreement will probably satisfy what I am looking for.”
The agenda item was tabled until a later date.