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Glen Rose Reporter
GLEN ROSE REPORTER & YOURGLENROSETX.COM | Thursday, April 24, 2014 | PAGE C2
Hospital district prepares for election GRMC PHOTO
Prior to the district’s May 2013 formation election, Glen Rose Medical Center CEO Ray Reynolds said the hospital’s fate was directly tied to outcome of that race. One year later, 18 candidates are vying for a shot at hospital oversight through service on Somervell County Hospital District board of directors.
Voters given first chance to elect representative to year-old taxing entity
When, Where & How to Vote EARLY VOTING
WHEN: 8 a.m.5 p.m. Weekdays only Monday, April 28-Tuesday, May 6 WHERE: Glen Rose Medical Center Specialty Clinic, located next door to Best Value Pharmacy
WHEN: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, May 10 WHERE: City Hall HOW TO VOTE: There are 18 candidates for seven seats on the Somervell County Hospital District board of directors. Each voter may chose up to seven candidates, and the four candidates who receive the greatest number of votes will serve two-year terms. The other three frontrunners will serve a year.
arly voting in the May 10 election kicks off in days — Monday, April 28. When the final votes are tallied on election day, another new era in Glen Rose Medical Center oversight will begin. For Glen Rose Medical Center, it is a new chapter in the storied history of local health care and the fight to keep management within the county. Some of the 18 candidates on the Somervell County Hospital District ballot are campaigning for increased transparency and community involvement. Others say they will work to increase services and improve operations. A few believe their professional experience can help manage an entity caught in a whirlwind of reimbursement woes. The pages that follow include biographies and answers to five questions posed by the Reporter to each of the 18 candidates, helping shed a light on what motivates their bids for office.
The board election is the first, as existing board members were appointed to fill a one-year term when the district was established. Dr. Karen Burroughs, Gary Whittle and Dr. Kenneth Ramsey — three of the seven community members appointed in 2013 — are seeking election to another term. Their re-election is being challenged by 16 other community members — Pam Parsons, Robin Middleton, Allen Sumners, John Parker, Chip Harrison, James Burkhart, Paul Harper, Pete Wycoff, Greg Marsh, Ron Hankins, Eugene Brode, Jim Willis, Jared Hankins, John Bailey and Brett Nabors. Registered voters living within the county will have the opportunity to weigh
in on all seven seats on the hospital district board of directors. Each voter will chose seven candidates, and the four candidates who receive the greatest number of votes will serve two-year terms. The other three frontrunners will serve a year, according to Ray Reynolds, medical center CEO. Early voting will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, April 28-Tuesday, May 6 (weekdays only), at Glen Rose Medical Center Specialty Clinic, located next door to Best Value Pharmacy. Election Day ballots will be cast at City Hall, where polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Somervell History Foundation, which serves as caretaker of the county’s oldest structure — Barnard’s MIll — attributes the beginning of the history of local health care to Dr. John Hanna, who purchased the mill in 1943, transforming it into a clinic. Dr. Roger E. Marks came to Glen Rose in 1949 to partner with Hanna. Marks and Dr. Robert D. English purchased the health care facility in 1955 following Hanna’s death. The duo operated Marks-English Clinic and Hospital out of the annex at the old mill until their practice called for the construction of a larger facility. English would not live to see the opening of the new campus, where Glen Rose Medical Center is located today. Harris Methodist Affiliated Hospitals purchased the hospital from Marks in 1982.
County takes control
Fast forward to October 1990, and Somervell County purchased the hospital from Harris, according to a 20-year history of the facility provided by former County Attorney Ron Hankins — one of 18 candidates on the May 10 hospital district ballot. At that time, revenue was the least of the county’s concerns. A large
property tax base included revenue from Comanche Peak Steam Electric Station that was being siphoned into county coffers. By purchasing the hospital, county officials warded off the threatening closure of the medical center like rural hospitals shuttered by Harris. Hankins took office January 1993 and later determined the agreement between Somervell County and Harris was “not done in accordance with the requirements of law.” The agreement included requirements for the county to expand and update the medical center and later lease it back to Harris, as well as the payment of projected losses by the county. In 2003, continued deregulation and associated devaluation of Comanche Peak led county officials to seek another means for operating the hospital without reliance on county property tax revenue, resulting in the formation of Glen Rose Medical Foundation Oct. 1, 2003. The foundation leased the hospital from the county for $1 per year.
Increased need and debt
In 2007, the foundation said there was an extreme increase in demand for local health care, with emergency room visits reportedly increasing almost 250 percent in less than a decade. To facilitate an expansion and renovation project, commissioners court made the decision to issue certificates of obligation (COs), with an agreement the debt would be repaid by the hospital foundation. The COs were issued by the county in 2009 to the tune of more than $14 million, with a 28-year foundation repayment period. Meanwhile, one doctor credited with generating approximately $8 million in gross revenue announced he would be leaving. And an additional $1 million debt increase attributed to uninsured and underinsured patients hit in 2008. Suddenly, the foundation did not believe it could live up
to the repayment expectations. About that time, officials called for the first hospital district formation election to provide a revenue stream for Glen Rose Medical Center. That election, held in 2009, failed to receive voter approval.
Authority signs on
The agreement with the foundation continued until less than five years ago. With millions of dollars in debt, Somervell County Commissioners Court voted to form Somervell County Hospital Authority Board in October 2009 and transferred the governance of the Glen Rose Medical Center to its appointed board in January 2010. But subsidy of Glen Rose Medical Center operations, indigent health care requirements and debt continued to drain county coffers.
Formation effort organizes, again
Fast forward to 2012 and a second effort to form the hospital district was organized. Jim Burkhart and John Bailey — both running for a seat on the hospital board May 10 — co-chaired a political action committee (PAC) calling for the formation of a hospital district. The PAC included dozens of community members — some who are also on the ballot — who garnered the required 100 signatures to call for an election. Burkhart presented the petition to County Judge Mike Ford in early February 2013.
An assembled crowd on the courthouse lawn May 10, 2013, was stunned to learn the issue of the formation of a new taxing entity to oversee hospital operations had literally divided the county. Months of campaigning on the part of the PAC left plenty of naysayers, but it also garnered enough support — by a narrow margin of two votes — to form Somervell County Hospital District. A total of 740 voters supported the formation while 738 opposed it. With the formation of the
district came the appointment of a seven-member inaugural board, which includes four members of the pre-existing hospital authority board — Larry Shaw, Whittle, Bob Lancaster and Angie Robertson, as well as Burroughs, practicing family physician; Ramsey, a retired surgeon; and Walter Maynard, former county judge.
As soon as votes in the formation election were tallied, an effort to dissolve the district organized. Led by Paul Harper — he is also running for election to the board in May — the effort spanned several months. The idea of disbanding the district gained the support of hundreds of county residents — a handful of them are also on the ballot. The detractors opposed the 10.5-cent tax adopted by the hospital district board. They questioned why the board had been appointed rather than elected. They also asked how the relationship between a clinic operated in another hospital district — Pecan Family Medical Center in Hood County — could maintain ties with Glen Rose Medical Center, which is supported by Somervell County taxpayers. Some asked why the local district required a tax while the Hood County entity did not. While Harper said the signatures of the required 15 percent of registered voters were collected, the hospital district’s attorney deemed a large number of the signatures invalid, due to signers not including city of residence, physical address and other issues. It is important to note that when the PAC submitted the petition calling for the election, similar discrepancies were seen on that petition, but they were verified as belonging to valid voters by county officials who tracked their registration status. Nonetheless, the hospital district rejected the petition and did not call a dissolution election.
GLEN ROSE REPORTER & YOURGLENROSETX.COM | Thursday, April 24, 2014 | PAGE C3
PAC CALLS FOR DISTRICT FORMATION
EDITOR’S NOTE Gearing up for the May 10 Somervell County Hospital District board election, Glen Rose Reporter called on each of the 18 candidates on the ballot, asking them to submit biographical information and responses to five questions. All but one candidate, John Bailey, responded to the request. The pages that follow include the candidates’ unedited responses.
BIO: PAM PARSONS, 55 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Lee HealthCare, home health administrator, chief financial officer
James Burkhart, co-chair of the political action committee that campaigned for the formation of Somervell County Hospital District, presents the formation petition to County Judge Mike Ford in February 2013.
DISTRICT FORMED BY TWO VOTES AMANDA KIMBLE/GRR
The white board on the courthouse lawn showed two more voters favored the formation of the Somervell County Hospital District than those who opposed it May 11, 2013.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Licensed Vocational Nurse since 1982 General Manager at Lee HealthCare Medical Supply Former Glen Rose business owner/manager, K-Care Pam Parsons Home Health Agency and Lollipop Lane Daycare Center CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS Stonewater Church National Association for Homecare and Hospice Texas Association for Homecare and Hospice VOLUNTEER SERVICE Physician Assistant Student Housing Sponsor Somervell County Cancer Support Group OFFICES HELD Texas Area Health Education Center Advisory Board member, current
OFFICIAL BALLOT (BOLETA OFICIAL) A
Somervell County Hospital District
Q&A: PAM PARSONS
Somervell County Hospital District (Distrito del Hospital del Condado de Somervell, Texas) May 10, 2014 (10 de mayo de 2014)
INSTRUCTION NOTE: Vote for the candidate(s) of your choice by darkening in the oval (
R) provided to the left of the name of the candidate(s).
(NOTA DE INSTRUCCIÓN: Vote por el candidato(s) de su preferencia llenando completamente el espacio ovalado ( candidato(s).)
R) a la izquierda del nombre de ese
Election of Members of the Board of Directors of Somervell County Hospital District (Elección de miembros de la Mesa Directiva de Distrito del Hospital del Condado de Somervell, Texas)
Director, At Large (Director, Distrito General)
Vote for None, One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six or Seven (Vote para Ninguna, Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco, Seis o Siete) Pam Parsons
Robin W. Middleton 40
James Burkhart Paul Harper Pete Wyckoff Greg Marsh
Karen Burroughs Ron Hankins
Eugene Brode Gary Whittle Jim Willis
Jared Hankins John Bailey
Somervell County Hospital District
Typ:01 Seq:0001 Spl:01
18.104.22.168 / 012503-14 © Election Systems & Software, Inc. 1981, 2002
1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? I want to keep our health care local and strong. As regulations and payment models change, it is imperative that our hospital have partnerships with other healthcare entities. Baylor/ Scott and White is a good partner to have, and I believe we can operate the hospital better with this and other relationships. These are challenging times in health care, but with positive and forwardthinking management, our hospital can meet the needs of our citizens while operating within the current budget. I have attended one board meeting, met with the hospital administrator and done some research to better understand the issues at hand and the responsibilities of board members. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I attended informational meetings about formation of the district and voted in support of it. My opinion has not changed. Closure of the hospital would be devastating for the entire community, therefore this is not an option to me. A town without a hospital is not attractive to newcomers, and the loss of any business is a blow to our local economy which affects us all. The formation of the district is about all of us pulling together for the benefit of everyone. The operation of a hospital is a huge job that requires focus and constant attention, which I believe the county officials with their many responsibilities could not continue to do. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District
and Glen Rose Medical Center? A big issue is containing costs while being able to provide needed services. I think we need to be sure we have efficient processes in place and look at costs versus revenue for each program. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? No, I do not believe this would be in our best interest at this time. If this were an option in the future, I would not support a lease/ purchase to a nearby competing entity, as I believe they would severely reduce the care available at our local hospital. I would want an entity that is looking to make this facility stronger and a more aggressive competitor to other area hospitals. I believe this can be accomplished presently through efficient operations and partnerships. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? Billing and collections are a huge part of any health care operation. Working with each insurance company, understanding their individual requirements and rules is very important for timely and efficient collections. We need to secure good contract rates and make sure we are paid in accordance with the contract. We should investigate other revenue streams/additional services that would be easily implemented into present programs without adding costs. Some payers impose payment reductions related to certain performance measures. These measures must be monitored, and improved when needed, to ensure that maximum available amounts are collected.
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: KENNETH RAMSEY, 60 Incumbent, candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired general/vascular surgeon OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Chairman department of surgery, Trinity Medical Center, Carrollton Chairman medical executive committee, Trinity Medical Center Governing board member, Kenneth Ramsey Trinity Medical Center Member medical executive committee, Texas Health Resources Center for Diagnostics and Surgery CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS None VOLUNTEER SERVICE Surgical chart review, Glen Rose Medical Center Quality committee member, GRMC Somervell County Hospital District, board member OFFICES HELD Somervell County Hospital District, board member — current
BIO: ROBIN W. MIDDLETON, 68 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Education, teacher and administrator — 39 years MEMBERSHIPS First United Methodist Church United Methodist Men, president FUMC lay speaker
Robin W. Middleton
VOLUNTEER SERVICE LDL Educational Resources Foundation, board of directors
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Q&A: KENNETH RAMSEY, INCUMBENT 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? This allows me to give back, in a way, to a rewarding profession while simultaneously giving something of my time and medical experience to the community. I feel that my medical background gives me a different perspective to add. To my knowledge, I have attended all the district board meetings since its inception, as well as a few before the establishment of the district. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did indeed support the formation of the hospital district, served on the preliminary PAC and voted
in favor of its formation. I supported it because in my opinion with the current medical-economic climate a district designated solely and specifically for the hospital is the best way to ensure a rural hospital’s (like GRMC) long-term security. My attitude now is even stronger in favor. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? A large portion of the community’s attitude toward and distrust of the hospital district, I feel, is the greatest issue. Notwithstanding the financial impact to the county and thus GRMC of the massive devaluation of the power plant, the medical center, staff and doctors
is as great an asset as this county has. It is the county’s medical center and district. Attend the meetings. Learn the facts, not hearsay. Get involved people! 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? Contrary to current local opinion, this option has been previously and is continuing to be explored. To my knowledge (and recent experience), there has been little serious interest from outside parties. If a serious interest should come forth however that ensured long-term security with local control, I may be in favor. Based on my previous experience with both for-
profit, as well as not-forprofit medical corporations I doubt this will happen. I therefore believe the taxpayers and patients in a rural setting such as this are better served by the hospital district concept. It allows slow growth, long-term security and local control. It incentivizes the local community 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? Be proactive. Maintain the facility and equipment. Ensure meticulous quality control. Grow services and programs that are shown to be profitable. Modify or eliminate those that are not. Remember, however, that health care is not an assembly-line process. We are treating people, people with illness or injury. It is not just a business, but an art and science.
be accountable for the decisions they make. Communication — the board must be very open and transparent. Some ways might be to have reports in the newspaper after each meeting and increase the use of social media. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? Leasing/selling the GRMC would NOT be a favored option for me. I would fear how the loss of local control would affect the quality of care at GRMC. How would that loss of control affect the community as a whole? I am not saying it is not an
option, just one I would not readily pursue. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? What are those ideas? Cutting losses and increasing profits will not be easy and could be painful. Until the hospital board knows what it can or cannot do with regards to legal statues, the board must be careful. I am sure many good people who work at the hospital are asking this same question. I imagine there are other hospitals in other communities who have faced these problems. Networking with them to see what they did and how they problem solved would certainly be helpful.
Q&A: ROBIN W. MIDDLETON 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? I am seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District Board because I believe Somervell County needs a strong and viable hospital. I believe I can help by using skills developed during years of working with people in education. I have not attended a meeting of the hospital board. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did support the formation of the hospital district last year. I did so because this lends itself to the hospi-
tal being managed more effectively and more credibly. Now that the board is to be elected and not appointed, this is even better for accountability. I did vote in the May 10 election to form the hospital district. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? I feel that there are two pressing issues facing Somervell County Hospital District, financing and communication. Finances — this new board will have to become familiar with state and federal statues on ways to increase funding and then
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: ALLEN SUMNERS, 67 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors FAMILY I reside in Somervell County with my wife, the former Jimmie Hammontree of Garland. We have two adult children and one granddaughter attending Glen Rose High School. We have lived here for the past nine years, and I am a property owner CAREER I served in the United States Allen Sumners Air Force in supervisory and management positions. I served at six stateside bases and three overseas tours, plus numerous deployments and temporary duty tours CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Semi-retired — I owned a small business and still manage a portion of that business OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE I served 22 years active duty in the USAF and 11 years in the Texas Air National Guard. My primary career field was civil engineering, operations and planning, however; most of my assignments were special duty assignments, including instructor, administration, budgeting, intelligence, emergency management and working with FEMA. I held a top secret/secret compartmental information clearance CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS First United Methodist Church Glen Rose Glen Rose Lions Club American Legion Post No. 462 VFW Disabled American Veterans Air Force Association National Rifle Association Somervell County Republican Club Glen Rose/Somervell County Chamber of Commerce
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Q&A: ALLEN SUMNERS 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? Last May, when the hospital district was formed, we also elected a board of directors consisting of seven highly capable people. Some have chosen not to seek reelection. I would be honored to serve on this newly-formed district board, having been a part of the PAC (political action committee) to form the district. I have attended three meetings of the new board and have observed their work. I feel that I will bring a new insight and perspective to the board to keep our medical center operating through changing times. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I was an early supporter
of forming the district. I’m of the opinion that establishing a hospital district, with the sole function of operating the hospital, was the best option. Now that it is a taxing entity, we elect representatives to the board rather than appoint them. With the election of qualified and positive board members interested in the function of the hospital, we can move forward. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? All programs appear to be on track after the transition from the county to the district. There needs to be better communication between the board and the citizens to assure both the taxpayers and the employees of GRMC that there is stability. This leads to retaining good professional medical
personnel and benefits our patients and citizens. No one knows how important having a level IV emergency room is until they need it. Even though there are hospitals with level IV emergency rooms in surrounding counties, travel time is important. As retirees consider moving to a community, one of the things they look into is the availability of medical care and facilities. When we attract these people we add to our tax base and ensure the volume needed to support the hospital. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? Leasing or selling GRMC to a large corporation runs the risk of them downsizing or outsourcing services to another of their operations. This would reduce our hos-
COMMISSIONERS ANNOUNCE DISTRICT FORMATION GRR FILE PHOTO
Following the canvassing of May 11, 2013 election returns by Somervell County Commissioners Court, County Judge Mike Ford announces, “We now have a hospital district.” Pictured are Commissioners James Barnard, Kenneth Wood, John Curtis and Larry Hulsey, with Ford seated at center.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE Christmas in Action Lions Club activities, including basketball and golf tournaments FUMC Lords’ Acre FUMC Car Show OFFICES HELD Regional Aging Advisory Committee, North Central Texas Council of Governments Regional Aging Advisory Funding Formula Subcommittee, representing Somervell County Current president of Somervell County Republican Club Past commander of the American Legion Post No. 462
BIO: JOHN PARKER, 62 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Store manager, Red Barn Glen Rose OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE BBA in accounting, Tarleton State University Corporate Treasurer, American Communications CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS American Radio Relay League National Federation of Independent Business
VOLUNTEER SERVICE Somervell County Fire Department, served as volunteer for 16 years Somervell County Food Bank board, six years OFFICES HELD Glen Rose City Council, member — 14 years
pital to a clinic status at best and mean that our nursing homes would have to transport their patients to other facilities. Even though it is an option; I do not support leasing or selling. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? Somervell needs to continue attracting people from a retirement community prospective. Insurance revenue is the major source of funds and generally retirees have insurance. There should be a review of the billing and collecting procedures and make sure they are updated with all the changes necessary within the changing conditions. Securing grants and other moneys should be a priority for keeping the taxes low for our citizens. Pecan Plantation (Hood County) is a source of dependable income important to our hospital. We need to keep this successful program.
Q&A: JOHN PARKER 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? I want to assist in bringing transparency and new management skills to the operation of our hospital and other interests of the district. I have attended no meetings. I only learned of one the day after it happened. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I was opposed. I voted against the district. I felt our problems had to do with a lack of management. Taxing should not replace management. I am sure that we must have a district now that debts have been assumed and until we find another way to manage indigent care. I now hope we can make the operation profitable enough to do all operations without taxes being necessary in the long run.
3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? I believe we need to manage more effectively. I am open to any way to address this. I feel like we can do it on our own but if need be we have had offers from management groups. I do not want to close the hospital!
4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? I believe operating it ourselves will be the best but I want to see real figures from current operations to judge what might be our best course of action. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cut-
ting losses at GRMC? I want to see what our costs are before I would be willing to cut anything. I hear that the Pecan Plantation office makes enough to help support the Glen Rose operations, but I will need to see that on paper which I can trust. If that is true, then I won’t be in favor of changing Pecan, otherwise I likely would like to not spend Somervell County tax money in Pecan.
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: CHIP HARRISON, 50 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Own and operate The Harrison Company, a local construction company OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE More than 30 years in the building supply distribution business CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS None
VOLUNTEER SERVICE Relay for Life Somervell County Committee on Aging (SCCOA) Youth Baseball Various other charities and causes OFFICES HELD SCCOA executive board of directors Relay for Life Steering Committee
BIO: JAMES BURKHART, 76 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Self-employed real estate developer VOLUNTEER SERVICE Glen Rose Lions Club Pecan Plantation Owners Association Somervell County Economic Development Board OFFICES HELD Board member of three corJames Burkhart porations Oasis Health Care, board member Glen Rose Lions Club, president
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Q&A: CHIP HARRISON 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? As a citizen and taxpayer of Somervell County, I believe it to be of the upmost importance to research and explore all available options prior to making any decision that may affect increasing taxation to the citizens. I believe we can change the way we currently do business and not tax the citizens of this county the way we currently do or have done in the past. I believe that it is the duty of the Somervell County Hospital District to look at and research all options prior to the implementation of taxation to the citizens of the county. This is not only the moral duty but an ethical obligation of anyone whom is appointed to this board. I have attended approximately four board meetings. I would have attended additional meetings, except upon looking at the posted agendas they all start in executive session and exclude public participation or are held early in the morning when most of us have to work. As a candidate, I would like to see a more public forum outside the work day in order to obtain input from the community as to the direction of “OUR HOSPITAL.” I believe we need more transparency along
with more public input and involvement. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? NO! I believe we went off halfcocked with a lot of misinformation. At the time when we voted, our county had in its hand offers wanting to lease “OUR HOSPITAL,” but the hospital authority board never pursued the offers and instead jumped on the hospital district tax idea. There are hard times ahead in our small county, and we cannot raise taxes to outspend outdated ideas. As the plant decreases in value, we will all see our own taxes increase, the days of the plant paying 80 percent are long gone. My property taxes went up 27 percent last year — that’s more than the few pizzas the pro-tax hospital district people promised. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? At the present time, we have more than $14 million in debt. At the present time, our hospital does not generate enough revenue or profit to pay the debt back, which makes the hospital less desirable to good companies wanting to lease, purchase or manage it. We have been doing the same things here for over 20 years with this hospital,
and when the plant footed the largest share of the tax, we all ignored the problem. Now we need to bring fresh ideas to the process and explore every idea and possible way to turn a profit. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? I do believe that taxpayers and patients alike would be better served by leasing GRMC — if we can find the right partner. At this point, I don’t know if they are even out there, maybe we should have been looking all along. I do want a hospital here in town, what I don’t want is to tax ourselves into the poor house. Our county taxes are 40.1 center per $100 evaluation, which are higher than Hood (32.8 cents/$100), Erath (34.6 cents/$100) and Johnson counties (37.1 cents /$100). That does not even include the hospital tax, which is an additional 10.5 cents. Bosque County is at 43.6 cents /$100 and does not have a hospital tax. If one factors in Somervell County Hospital District tax of 10.5 cents/100, we are the most taxed county in our immediate area. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? What are those ideas? When we leased the nursing home it was losing
money, the new company that took it over turned it around in short order. Why then can the hospital not? We are going to have to come up with a realistic budget and a real solution to these problems. I think as long as we have a never ending flow of tax dollars we will never run the hospital like a business, but a charity. The hospitals in Stephenville, Cleburne and Granbury all make a profit and do not rely on tax dollars. Why do we? Additionally, we had close to 80 applicants for the CEO position when Marks retired, and we never looked at anyone with experience or the right degree but hired from within and nothing changed. We need change in the form of fresh ideas and experience. If the poor and uninsured are our biggest drain on the budget, then why not a have a clinic dedicated to the indigent, rather than using the emergency room? Why not hire a CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) we have not had one in over a year. To my knowledge the position of CNO has not been posted on the GRMCA website or any other hospital industry job internet sites. Why do we use Pecan Plantation VFD to ground transport to other facilities? (It must be profitable or they would not do it). These are just a few obvious problems that seem to have easy answers.
THREE OF SEVEN BOARD MEMBERS SEEK ANOTHER TERM
Q&A: JAMES BURKHART 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital district board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? I want to do what I can to maintain our hospital. I have attended two hospital board meetings. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I was co-chair of a group of 43 citizens that worked hard to form the hospital district. I believe now, as then, that our hospital, as well as our schools, are a very important part of the health and growth of Somervell County. 3. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital and Glen Rose Medical Center? I cannot give an opinion on what is wrong, if anything, until I serve on the board, review budgets and financial statements and be able to identify problem areas. 4. Do you believe tax-
payers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? If the hospital board can find a good company that will lease or buy the hospital for enough money to pay off our $17 million or more bond debt, put aside $500,000 to $800,000 each year for our indigent care, I would be for it. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? What are those ideas? To improve profits, you must improve revenue, and I cannot answer without serving on the board and working with the hospital management to identify areas for increased revenue and cost savings. You must remember, there are two ways to transform a business or organization, revolution or evolution. Evolution has always (90 percent of the time) been chosen as the preferred course.
Somervell County Hospital District board of directors look over the entity’s 2014 budget in September 2013. Only three of them — Dr. Kenneth Ramsey, Gary Whittle and Dr. Karen Burroughs — are seeking re-election May 10. Current Board members include (standing, l-r) Ramsey, Whittle, Walter Maynard, Bob Lancaster (far right) and (sitting, l-r) Angie Robertson, Larry Shaw and Burroughs. Michael Honea (wearing tie) is also pictured.
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: PAUL HARPER, 45 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Microsoft Corporation 19932014, security engineer – solving problems and designing solutions to complex security issues Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, both with security specializations Paul Harper VOLUNTEER SERVICE Somervell County Food Bank, executive director — 2009-12 Also on the United Fund Board during that tenure Brought the food bank out from under the church and established its own identity and 501©(3) status with the IRS
BIO: PETE WYCKOFF, 81 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE U.S. Navy veteran, 27 years of service Several command and directorial positions in the Navy, Singer-Link and RCA/ GE following retirement have provided a sound managerial background.
Pete Wyckoff EDUCATION U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. Naval Engineering U.S. Naval Post Graduate School, B.S. Aeronautical Engineering Princeton University, M.S. Aerospace Engineering MEMBERSHIPS Glen Rose Lions Club, board member and former treasurer
BIO: GREG MARSH, 67 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Real estate agent, Paluxy River Realty OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Retired in 2001 from The Dow Chemical Company after 33 years employment. While employed by Dow, I worked in research and development as an assistant chemist; as an industrial medical technologist; in qual- Greg Marsh ity assurance (QA) as coordinator and manager for major manufacturing department; QA manager for Texas operations; and finished my Dow career as laboratory systems manager for Gulf Coast Operations. CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS First Baptist Church, Glen Rose National Association of Realtors Texas Association of Realtors Granbury Association of Realtors VOLUNTEER SERVICE Texas Master Gardener Association, Somervell and Johnson counties CURRENT OFFICES None
DISTRICT DISSOLUTION PETITION DELIVERED IN NOV. 2013
Ray Reynolds, Glen Rose Medical Center CEO, accepts pages of signatures from Somervell County resident Paul Harper Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. The signatures are on a petition calling for an election to dissolve Somervell County Hospital District. The entity was formed by narrow margin when 740 county residents voted “for” its formation and 738 voted “against” it in May 2013. Harper said more than 930 signatures were included in the petition, and more than the required number — 790 — of the signatures had been verified as being “unique and valid.”
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Q&A: PAUL HARPER 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? It is time for some major changes to the hospital district, and I have a very specific agenda that I believe will help: 1. Eliminate the new property tax — The hospital should be able to run within its means, not on the back of the taxpayers. 2. Cease operations in Hood County — Pecan Plantation in Hood County is a private exclusive gated community yet we are funding their health care facilities while Somervell County residents are not allowed to see the building, let alone use the facilities. The purpose of a hospital district is supposed to be for the benefit of the members IN the district, not outside the district. 3. Close the 501a slush fund — funds are moved to this account from the general fund when the ‘account is low’ without a paper trail instead of when the funds have been requested and approved. This procedure needs to end and have requests and approvals for all funds being spent. 4. Bring in hospital administration experts — the
people running the hospital now got there by who they know, not what they know. It’s time for some experts in hospital administration to be brought in to run things the way they are supposed to be run. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did not support the formation of the district last year, which is why I wrote up the petition for an election to eliminate the district and turn it back over to the county. I, along with dozens of others, worked for five months, getting signatures on that petition before turning it in only to have the appointed board reject it for technicalities on a ‘city’ not being listed for some when the district boundary is the county. The hospital district board does not need a petition to call for a dissolution election, just the knowledge that so many voters want another election is sufficient, but they chose not to call for that election regardless of the 900+ people that signed it. In my opinion ,those board members, who are all appointed, did not respect the wishes of the people.
3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? There are many issues facing the hospital district, but at the top is the mismanagement. When the CEO job was posted, there were 91 resume’s that were turned in from all over the country, some with hospital administration degrees, but the appointed board chose the current CEO, who was the local person and paid BOTH the current and former CEO for nine months at the same time during the ‘transition’ period. We need to bring in experts who have proven track records in managing a hospital. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? I believe that entering into an agreement with a third party is the best option for a small county like ours that is going to have serious tax issues with the power plant bankruptcy moving forward. Hood County already does this, they have a district
and no tax associated with it. We have tried it the other way for over a decade and it has gotten us millions of dollars in debt. The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? There are many ways to increase profits and cut losses, a few are: 5. Proper inventory control so when someone uses something it gets documented. According to the estimates, we are losing about $2000 a day at GRMC, some of this is due to lack of proper controls in place, this gets back to mismanagement. 6. I can’t tell you the number of people that have told me their billing horror stories from GRMC. This needs to be handled and quick, you don’t make money when you bill people a year late. 7. Eliminating Hood County operations will bring back all of our equipment and staff, which will help us save money and focus on our core operations inside the district.
people of this county should be able to trust the board to develop realistic budgets and to keep to them. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? This county and taxpayers will better served keeping the Glen Rose Medical Center operating as it is. Outside management firms controlling GRMC, either through sale or lease, will only be interested in their bottom line not a great medical system that our taxpayers and local patients would be proud of. There are people within the county who say they want to
reduce our taxes by degrading this hospital to nothing more than an emergency clinic. We cannot allow this to happen. Regardless of what ever is done we still owe a $17 million hospital that must be satisfied. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? What are those ideas? I cannot give you suggestions for increasing profits without reviewing the financial records. However, if GRMC adds programs that involve the community through educational classes, many more people will choose to come to GRMC instead of going elsewhere. We all want good medical care that Is affordable and close to home!
hospital district. We should continue with the tax rate as it is for the next 2-5 years and see where we are. I believe we should continue to explore different options possibly available to us as we consistently evaluate where we are financially. I look forward to seeking how we can improve our current situation. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC?
My background in quality assurance programs, including budget development, enables me to “pay attention to details” to determine possible means of increasing profits and cutting losses. All board members work with current administration and other district board members to develop a plan to cut our losses thus increasing profits. I am able to do this.
Q&A: PETE WYCKOFF 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? One of the reasons we choose to locate to in Somervell County in 2001 was the availability of a good local hospital. As a member of the Somervell County Hospital District board I hope to help maintain a viable and growing hospital as a part of the community. I believe that this is essential for our continued healthy growth. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I supported the formation of the hospital district last May because from a
management and financial point of view it just makes sense. An already burdened set of county commissioners, through no fault of their own, cannot devote the time and energy to running the hospital that a solely dedicated board of directors can. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? The most pressing issue for the Somervell County Hospital District and the GRMC is survival. Careful attention to the finances and future of the district and medical center must be addressed by people who are good at managing money and resources. The
Q&A: GREG MARSH 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? I believe the citizens of Somervell County deserve a fully-functional medical facility that provides not only routine health care services but also emergency medical services. I prefer supporting our community facilities rather than visiting an outside vendor. My experience in real estate has confirmed the fact that families considering relocation to our area find local medical facilities very important in their decision. Have you ever attended a board meeting? Yes, three times. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did support and voted for the formation of the hospital district. To be able to support the medical facility we have today, I consider 10.5 cents per $100 evaluation a small price to pay. It is my desire to continue to have the professional staff and services available. No, my opinion has not changed. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? GRMC is facing is the challenge of charity care
currently being provided. GRMC is working to assist such patrons how to investigate various programs that will assist them in paying for the care. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? We are less than a year into the formation of our
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: KAREN BURROUGHS, 49 Incumbent, candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Physician partner at Paluxy Valley MSO, family medicine OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Physician partner, Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic, 14 years CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS American Academy Family Physicians
VOLUNTEER SERVICE None OFFICES HELD Somervell County Hospital District, board member
BIO: RON HANKINS, 65 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Attorney, 35 + years CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS Texas District & County Attorneys Association Glen Rose Masonic Lodge No. 525 Texas State Bar Association
VOLUNTEER SERVICE None OFFICES HELD City Attorney, Glen Rose, appointed — about 8 years Somervell County Attorney, elected — 20 years
BIO: EUGENE BRODE, 83 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Self employed, semi-retired architect OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Bachelor degree in architecture from University of Texas at Austin Formerly licensed in Arkansas and Louisiana Previously held National Architectural Registration Eugene Brode Board certificate Manager of New Lease Construction for the United States Postal Service for Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana Wide experience in varied types of architecture, such as hospitals and clinics CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS Licensed Texas Architect VOLUNTEER SERVICE Glen Rose Preservation Board Texas Historical Commission OFFICES HELD Chairman, Somervell County Historical Commission
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Q&A: KAREN BURROUGHS, INCUMBENT 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? As a community member of the county for over the last six years, I feel that available skilled medical care is very important to maintain a viable environment for stability and growth. As individuals seek a community to establish a home, they will commonly look to medical services and schools to determine the best place to settle. Our community is able to provide both in a convenient and beautiful location. I have attended most of the board meetings as a member of the board. In addition to monthly scheduled meetings, I have participated at budget workshops and special called meetings. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I have been a supporter of the formation of the hospital district since initial consideration. I feel that community direction of local medical care is very
proposal did not pass. All the commissioners were firmly committed to keeping the hospital open. The district now gives itself a free hand to tax without any oversight from the County. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? Spending wisely and prudently. Do we need to continue to pay insurance on the big clock structure? It was listed with the insurance company separately from the hospital building. Some salaries should be re-evaluated with salaries of others in other locations with similar responsibilities. At this time, does a 16 bed hospital really need a public relations person?
and help cover the cost of equipment. There remains a need to provide continued quality care to the indigent population of our county as well. Another area of service benefit would be wellness education to the community for example information seminars or classes to provide instruction on recommended screening tests, diabetes care and control of heart disease/stroke risk. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? I feel that the local community is best qualified to determine the way to serve its patients. I have great concern that large, profitoriented companies would make it more difficult to do the right thing for the people of our community when collections could be put before quality and compassion. It is possible to contain the cost of care and not limit services or require leaving the community for basic services like outpatient surgery
and radiology testing. I prefer the people providing services and making management decisions answer to the people they serve rather than a distant corporation. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? I am interested in continued efforts to increase revenue for services provided at the Medical Center. I feel that improved availability of outpatient services like radiology and lab services may be able to increase revenue without much increased expense. Increased hours of availability or creative scheduling may make services available to community members with less conventional schedules. For instance, select evening hours or weekend services as the patients indicate are needed. There is also benefit to educating hospital staff members as to the requirements and rules of reimbursement as this remains very complicated. This could encourage appropriate compensation for care we are already providing.
are struggling to survive in this country. Any hospital administrator or physician knows this to be true. I know of no small hospitals who are breaking even, much less turning a profit. I know that several local residents believe that CHS (Community Hospital Systems), which currently operates the Lake Granbury Medical Center (LGMC) in Granbury, would be willing to lease GRMC. However, they are unaware that a request was made to the former CEO of Lake Granbury to make an offer on the lease of GRMC to the county. This was done in a “face-to-face” meeting between that CEO, Judge Mike Ford and myself in 2012. No offer was ever made as a result of that meeting. Additionally, the county was informed that if CHS did consider a lease of GRMC, there could be no “duplication of services” between GRMC and LGMC (meaning that if a service is provided at Granbury, it would not be provided at Glen Rose!) As a result, most, if not all, services would eventually be lost at Glen Rose. As far as a sale is concerned, since GRMC currently requires “supplemental” funding to survive, I don’t think any other hospital system would be interested. This is especially
true since GRMC has an outstanding debt balance of approximately $13 million as a result of the expansion done in 2008-09. 5. Do you have any ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? I do not have enough current knowledge of the health care industry to have any ideas which might lead to increasing profits. I do know that GRMC has experienced a very large volume of “charity care” (well in excess of $1 million in 2013). Charity care is health services provided by a hospital and for which the hospital receives absolutely no payment. This most often may be visits by patients to the emergency room, when those patients have no insurance and no funds with which to pay for the services. But sometimes, these patients are referred to the hospital by a physician as being “unable to pay.” This is different from “indigent care” and should not be confused with it. If elected to the board, I would like to inquire as to the procedure used for local physicians to refer patients to the hospital for services when the physician believes that they are eligible for “charity care” and to see if there is something that can be done to ensure that those patients really do qualify.
Q&A: RON HANKINS 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? I am seeking election to the board because there is a need for candidates who are willing to devote their time and efforts towards the operation of GRMC (Glen Rose Medical Center) and to do their best to keep it open and operating as efficiently as possible for the benefit of the citizens of Somervell and surrounding counties. Have you ever attended a board meeting? Yes, 6-8 times 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? Yes. I supported the proposition because GRMC has required supplemental funding to maintain its operations. For many years, Somervell County had maintained a line item for this funding, but due to changing times, not the least of which was the anticipated and subsequent devaluation of Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, the county was going to be hard-pressed to continue its funding; therefore, there had to be an alternate method for funding GRMC and the only realistic alternative was the formation of a Hospital District as a “stand alone” entity. 3. What do you feel is currently the most press-
Q&A: EUGENE BRODE 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? I believe that my past expertise in planning and organizational skills, as well as knowledge of the plant, can be of value to the struggling hospital. I have never attended a board meeting, because the Laissez-faire of the past seemed so over whelming. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did not vote for the district, because it subscribed to continuing the excesses and mismanagement of the past. Also, hospital personnel and related personnel said loudly and widely the false assertion the hospital would close if the district
important to maintain quality services for all local peoples with various needs. I am confident that the people who live in the community have the best ability to support an organization to care for its members with the most attention to quality and appropriate direction of funds. This opinion has continued since initial discussion of formation of the hospital district which I did vote for in the previous elections. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? I feel the most pressing issue is the need to contain the cost of medical care in all practical fields while still providing quality care in a hometown environment. This is not a simple task, as expenses continue to escalate and reimbursement shrinks. I understand the need to continue to utilize all appropriate programs to increase available funds for operation. This would include programs to reimburse for quality measures
4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? If we have iron-clad assurances that the public will enjoy the same level of care that they have now, I have no compunction against selling or leasing the hospital. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? All of the past history of this country tells that no governmental entity, be it Federal, State, City, County or Hospital District, can ever run a successful business – they never have and never do. The best that they can do is to break even. Some of the above suggestions are a start.
ing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? Supplemental funding to keep the facility operating; but almost as important as that is getting the general public to understand that a hospital cannot be compared to any other business, and the claim that the reason that the facility cannot operate “within its means” is not because of “bad management”. The problem of funding has been addressed by the formation of the hospital district. The citizens who understand the need for the district and the tax, as far as I am aware, have tried to “educate” their fellow citizens on this need. That includes myself. But what I have run into quite often is citizens who are unwilling to believe anything else about the condition of GRMC except “it’s the result of bad management!”. I am currently at a loss to know how to overcome that problem. 4. Do you believe that taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? I believe at this time that there would be “no takers” on an offer to either lease or sell GRMC. All hospitals
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: GARY WHITTLE, 64 Incumbent, candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE 10 years City of Mesquite Parks and Recreation 15 years City of DeSoto Administrative positions From Department Director to City Manager 8.5 years Texas Municipal League Risk Pool working with 200 cities and special districts, including county hospital districts.
CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS Glenview Church of Christ, member and deacon VOLUNTEER SERVICES Squaw Valley Golf Course GRMC Volunteer Program OFFICES HELD Somervell County Appraisal Review Board, 2002-08 Somervell County Crime Stoppers board of directors, 2012-present Somervell County Hospital Authority Board, 2010-13 Somervell County Hospital District board of directors, 2013-present
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Q&A: GARY WHITTLE, INCUMBENT 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? To continue to serve the citizens of Somervell County and stakeholders of GRMC by providing quality, long-term health care and a facility locally. I served on the Somervell County Hospital Authority Board since January 2010 and the hospital district board since its inception in 2013. I have attended every meeting since January 2010. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did support the formation of the hospital district. Due to the needs of Somervell County and the statutory mandate of providing indigent health care at an amount equal to 8 percent of the county’s tax levy, Glen Rose Medical
Center sis better served to have its own source of funding and elected board of directors rather than putting the burden on the county. My opinion remains the same. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? Declining reimbursements and unfunded mandates are major concerns. The Center for Medicare/ Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to lower cost reimbursement for services provided. This not only impacts GRMC, but has a major impact on all providers. Declining reimbursements are why you see some independent physicians not accepting new Medicare patients. Managed care contracts with commercial insurance base their
contracts on a percentage of CMS reimbursements and cost of service. Unfunded mandates, such as Electronic Health Records, impact medical providers. Counties and cities also face unfunded mandates as political subdivisions. If they are “funded” the funds erode over a period of time and the entity must then absorb the expense. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? No. I believe the taxpayers and patients are best served by a quality and long-term, viable facility to serve the community at home without the intent to reduce services to an emergency room status. There is a reason Glen Rose has the excellent physicians here and I, as a patient,
would much rather have my own physician to care for me in the hospital instead of seeing a “hospitalist.” Bigger is not always better. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? What are those ideas? Hospital revenues are volume driven. Physicians admit their patients to hospitals for treatment and/or procedures. GRMC has an active physician recruitment program in place. An internal medicine physician and a primary care physician will be joining the medical staff in early summer and fall of this year. This will allow for expansion of services and increased volume. Future facility expansion and recruitment of specialty physicians will greatly enhance service which can be provided and benefit GRMC and the stakeholders of the hospital and our community.
County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? Bad management personal financial involvement by directors, lack of new current equipment and trustworthy labs. The problems should be addressed with better management and use of facility, with future of hospital and patients in mind. All decisions must be made with both taxpayers and patient care as main goal. We need to control taxes yet offer best services possible. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients
would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? I think we should investigate all options services and cost and do what is best for taxpayers and offer best services. I believe we should either sell or manage it ourselves. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? Control spending – professional management, modern equipment, complete accountability, open records.
it past the voters. The district didn’t pass the first time, but the pro-taxers eventually got their way. If the board ends up in the hands of pro-tax individuals, sooner or later they will raise taxes again. And, if they don’t get their way, they’ll just keep trying until too few people turn out to stop them. While building up a cash reserve for the hospital is a good idea, it is wrong to do so by draining the reserves of taxpayers. Taxing entities have a bad habit of treating taxpayers as an inexhaustible source of funds. Therefore, the most pressing issue for the Somervell County Hospital District is to insure that GRMC becomes a self supporting business while maintaining the highest quality care possible. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/ selling the hospital to a private operator? In the past, the hospital administration has shown a distinct lack of interest in doing anything that doesn’t somehow benefit them – rather than being solely concerned with benefiting the public. In their haste to get their hands directly on taxpayer dollars, the administration ignored other possibilities such as the possibility of leasing the hospital to CHS. As to which is the right course of action at this point... I believe, in the shortterm, the new board should try to get a grip on things before looking to hand the job off to someone else. Leasing is certainly a possibility, but only with the right partner and only with appropriate safe guards in place. Any management agency would have to be thoroughly investigated before being considered.
As for selling the hospital, while this would add to the tax base, it should be reserved as an absolute last resort. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? The best way of dealing with losses is to stop adding to them. One of the reasons pro-taxers wanted a hospital district was so they could use ‘free’ public money to expand and acquire anything and everything they desired. They try to explain the ‘need’ for tons of extra spending by saying things like; our equipment is ‘old and outdated and obsolete’ – despite the fact that our hospital and everything in it is far newer than many other hospitals in the region. Or ‘the community continues to grow’ – which it does, but the rate of population growth in the county has been slowing over the past 30 years. It’s also been said ‘we’re perceived as a small organization’ – that would be because we are. When speaking in support of creating the district, doctors suggested building a ‘community center’ with an Olympic size swimming pool, and/or a rehab facility with pool. Obviously, the district would buy up more private land to build these things on. Every square foot of land owned by a taxing entity means less tax base to support those entities. Doctors also suggested adding many services. Like it or not, we can’t afford a one-stop-shop hospital. I would suggest common sense business practices; find a niche market that we can specialize in, so that people come here for that service. As for Pecan; is it a valuable asset or an albatross? At present, unfortunately, only elected board members can know for sure.
Q&A: JIM WILLIS BIO: JIM WILLIS, 74 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Retired OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Private Business Owner, CEO Corporate sales representative
1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? To create an unbiased accountability to board, protect taxes and health care services. My decisions would be independent from employment hospital or medical field – and no personal financial interest other than paying taxes. Have you ever attended a board meeting? No, the current board is a waste of time. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? No. I opposed the pro-
posed district because it would only increase taxes and give a few people with personal financial interest control of hospital and tax money. We had elected commissioners who receive a large salary to oversee the financial obligation which only needed good management. We need professional management regardless of ownership. County lease or sale – must be good management and what voters and taxpayers want. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell
BIO: JARED HANKINS, 32 Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Beverage category manager, Red Barn CURRENT MEMBERSHIPS Weston A. Price Foundation VOLUNTEER SERVICE Somervell County Food Bank, five years of service OFFICES HELD Democratic Primary alternate election judge, Somervell Jared Hankins County, Pct. 4 — 2010
JOHN BAILEY, 65 Bailey, retired, has resided in Somervell County for about five years and served as cochairman of the political action committee that campaigned for the formation of Somervell County Hospital District. Multiple requests — by telephone and email — for a biography and responses to questions were not returned.
Why wait for the print edition? Get election night returns online and on time - Saturday, May 10 at yourglenrosetx.com. Results will also be published in the Thursday, May 15 print edition of the Glen Rose Reporter.
Q&A: JARED HANKINS 1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? Have you ever attended a board meeting? While not being a property owner myself, I am aware of the increasing burden being placed on Somervell County taxpayers. Some individuals involved with running local taxing entities seem to think that public money needn’t be used with restraint. The hospital district is the newest taxing entity looking to take a bite out of taxpayers’ bank accounts. Efforts were made to return GRMC to the county, however, once established, taxing entities will fight tooth and nail to remain in existence. The only alternative at this point, which will save the taxpayers unneeded hardship, is electing responsible individuals who are not interested in spending other people’s money. I don’t want to spend your money. I want the hospital to support itself. In the past, it’s been said that this isn’t possible – I don’t buy that excuse. If properly managed, there is no reason why our hospital can’t be self-sufficient. I have never attended a board meeting. Given the frequent inconvenience of their timings and the fact that the administration tends to withhold significant information from the public, there seemed little point. 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? I did not support the creation of the hospital district. Quite simply, there was no need for it. The primary reason those who voted for it did so was because the PAC and other pro-tax individuals told voters an out-right lie. Voters were told that if a district wasn’t created then the hospital would close.
That statement was patently false. The Reporter recorded the Somervell County commissioners giving their unequivocal answer to the question of closing GRMC – closure was not an option. The hospital was never going to close. Pro-taxers also told voters that those of us opposed to the creation of a district wanted the hospital to close. This is another absolute falsehood. I never wanted the hospital to close. What I wanted was to avoid having yet another taxing entity. In fact, most voters agree that the expansion of government is a bad thing. So, how is it that it keeps happening? Because voters have lives to live and tend to think that once they’ve said they don’t want something, they don’t have to say it again. Sadly, that’s not the case. We say no the first time, but too few voters turn out the second or third try to stop these things. Our county is headed for trouble – we have an increasing number of taxing entities supported by an ever decreasing tax base. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? Due to lack of Transparency in the current administration, it’s impossible to know for sure what the facts are unless you are part of said administration. Clearly, increasing transparency should be high on the list of priorities of the new board. There is a saying; “if people don’t know what you’re doing, they don’t know what you’re doing wrong.” But, where public money is involved, people should know exactly what is being done with it. Now that it’s been created, the hospital district has the power to raise taxes to over 700 percent of the current rate – if they can get
ELECTION GUIDE BIO: BRETT NABORS, 43
GLEN ROSE REPORTER & YOURGLENROSETX.COM | Thursday, April 24, 2014 | PAGE C10
Q&A: BRETT NABORS
Candidate for Somervell County Hospital District Board of Directors CURRENT EMPLOYMENT Outside sales OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Medical device sales Medical equipment sales Pharmaceutical and hospital sales Biologics sales Pharmaceutical sales management Brett Nabors VOLUNTEER SERVICE Glen Rose Youth Basketball Association Glen Rose Youth Baseball Association WATCH D.O.G. at Glen Rose ISD United Methodist Youth
1. Why are you seeking election to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors? I believe the hospital is an integral part of this community and provides excellent service at a convenient location. I feel that my background working with numerous hospitals (i.e.. physicians, purchasing directors, CEO’s and CFO’s} would be a great asset to the hospital district board of directors. I have a strong knowledge of hospital operations and understand what it takes to make a hospital successful. Have you ever attended a board meeting? No 2. Did you support the formation of the district last year? YES. The reason I sup-
ported the formation of the Somervell County Hospital District is that our community was in dire need for this action to take place in order for our hospital to continue to provide it’s outstanding service to the citizens of Somervell County. My opinion has not changed. 3. What do you feel is currently the most pressing issue facing Somervell County Hospital District and Glen Rose Medical Center? I feel the most pressing issue facing the district and GRMC is dwindling Medicare reimbursement rate for services provided for patient care. How should the problem be addressed? By successful meetings with board members and current hospital
administration to provide workable solutions to offset the above challenges. 4. Do you believe taxpayers and local patients would be better served by leasing GRMC to an outside management firm/selling the hospital to a private operator? I believe this is the quandary that got us where we are today. The commissioners court looked at several viable options, but no other entities came to the table to offer a solution. The PAC to initiate the Somervell County Hospital District was a practical solution to a complex problem facing the taxpayers and patients of GRMC. I also believe now that the hospital district is in place, an outside management
firm or selling the hospital is a moot point. I believe the best way to serve the citizens of Somervell County is to elect the right people to the hospital district board who can move forward and help address any problems that face the GRMC. 5. Do you have ideas for increasing profits and cutting losses at GRMC? I believe that the best way to increase profit is to provide more services to a broader patient group in order to generate more revenue. This could include recruitment of more specialty physicians, internal medicine, family practice physicians, mid-level practitioners to serve the growing patient population and needs of Somervell County citizens.
Hospital receives favorable audit report Ray Reynolds, CEO Glen Rose Medical Center
Jeff Graham, partner with accounting firm Condley and Company, L.L.P., presented the 2013 financial audit to Somervell County Hospital District board of directors at the April 22 board meeting. Graham stated the audit
report was in conformity with generally-accepted accounting principles and was a “clean” opinion. “The hospital had a good year,” Graham said. Hospital district financial highlights: • Operating income of $586,032 in 2013, compared to an operating loss of
$1,693,182 in 2012 • Total income (including non-operating income) of $647,063, compared to loss of $1,260,514 in 2012 • Assets of $18,865,890 and liabilities (bonds payable) of $13,151,400 were transferred from Somervell County to the hospital district • Entered into a Lease and
Operations Transfer Agreement with a third party to manage the nursing home, resulting in a loss from discontinued operation of $677,662 • Positive cash flow for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013 of $427,698 with an ending cash balance of $561,425 • District provided
$1,058,210 in charity care and had bad debt expenses of $2,345,856 • Received $1,153,921 in Electronic Health Records incentive payments • $860,000 of County support was included in the financials. However, no Hospital District taxes were included
SOMERVELL COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT ELECTION – MAY 10, 2014 EARLY VOTING – SPECIALITY CLINIC, 408 GLENWOOD ST.
April 28 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm May 5 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm
April 29 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm May 6 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm
April 30 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm May 7
May 1 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm May 8
May 2 Early Voting 8 am - 5 pm May 9
MAY 10 - ELECTION DAY
TOWN HALL 7 am - 7 pm
GLEN ROSE I.S.D. ELECTION – MAY 10, 2014
Sunday April 27 May 4
EARLY VOTING – ADMIN. BUILDING, 1102 STADIUM DR
April 28 April 29 Early Voting Early Voting 8 am – 4:30 pm 8 am - 4:30 pm May 5 May 6 Early Voting Early Voting 8 am – 4:30 pm 8 am – 4:30 pm
April 30 Early Voting 8 am - 4:30 pm May 7
May 1 May 2 May 3 Early Voting Early Voting 8 am - 4:30 pm 8 am - 4:30 pm May 8 May 9 MAY 10 - ELECTION DAY
TOWN HALL 7 am - 7 pm
SOMERVELL COUNTY WATER DISTRICT ELECTION – MAY 10, 2014 EARLY VOTING – WATER DISTRICT OFFICE, 2099 CR 301
April 28 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 5 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm
April 29 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 6 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm
April 30 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 7
May 1 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 8
May 2 May 3 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 9 MAY 10 - ELECTION DAY
WATER DIST OFFICE 7 am - 7 pm
CITY OF GLEN ROSE - NO CONTESTED RACES - May 10, 2014 ELECTION CANDIDATES DULY ELECTED - OFFICIALS (Listed Alphabetically) CHRIS BRYANT JOHNNY MARTIN SANDRA RAMSAY
MAY 27, 2014 REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRATIC JOINT PRIMARY RUNOFF ELECTION EARLY VOTING – COUNTY ANNEX CONFERENCE ROOM, 206 ELM ST. Sunday
May 19 Early Voting 8 am – 5:00 pm May 26 MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY
May 20 Early Voting 8 am -5:00 pm May 27 ELECTION DAY 7 am - 7 pm
May 21 Early Voting 8 am - 5:00 pm
May 22 May 23 May 24 Early Voting Early Voting 8 am - 5:00 pm 8 am - 5:00 pm ELECTION DAY POLLING PLACES PCT. 1 – ANNEX CONFERENCE ROOM PCT. 3 – EXPO CENTER PCT. 2 – CITIZEN CENTER, PALUXY RM PCT. 4 – OAKDALE PK. CONVENTION CENTER