To better understand the options relating to the future of Glen Rose Medical Center, county officials have called a special meeting.

The single item agenda includes a discussion to familiarize the court with the process of a potential lease offer agreement for the hospital. A representative of Community Health Systems (CHS), a hospital management company, is expected to attend the meeting.

The meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday in the commissioners' courtroom inside the county annex.

At a recent commissioners court meeting, a similar agenda item spurred Commissioner Larry Hulsey to lead a heated discussion related to the future of the hospital. 

Hulsey asked why the hospital authority board and the recently organized Glen Rose Medical Center Hospital (political action) Committee had focused on only one option - asking voters to decide on the formation of a new taxing entity, a hospital district.

Larry Shaw, chairman of the hospital board, said there had not been an interested party step forward with an offer for leasing the facility. 

Meanwhile, a representative CHS, which is the management company that oversees the operation of Lake Granbury Medical Center, has continued to express interest, according to Hulsey.

Ray Reynolds, hospital CEO, said CHS had requested information related to GRMC operations, including financial records and patient volume.

Representatives of the PAC have said formation of a hospital district is the only way to ensure the hospital remains open. And concern has been expressed that CHS would use an agreement with the hospital to capture business from GRMC's Pecan Plantation Clinic. 

More than half of the the medical center's business comes from Pecan Plantation, according to Reynolds.

"It is a significant market share for us," Reynolds said, adding that from a financial standpoint, the patients are well insured. "There is less bad debt compared to the rest of our business."

While there is fear of the hospital closing its doors, a representative of CHS told county officials last summer that the company would sign a purchase or lease agreement to shut it down.

But those words have done nothing to quiet concerns. The company didn't seem receptive to a previous agreement that guaranteed its doors would remain open, according to County Judge Mike Ford. 

A second meeting will be held be held Monday, Feb. 25, relating to the petition recently submitted by PAC co-chair James Burkhart to county officials earlier this month.

The petition is required to have at least 100 signatures from qualified voters calling for a district election in May.

The public hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners courtroom.