Chatham County Hospital Authority hold annual meeting, focus on indigent care

    Annual meeting of CCHA focuses on management of indigent care fund (Robert Catanese)<p>{/p}

    Chatham County Hospital Authority held their annual meeting, Monday.

    Before heading into executive session, the board announced the election of officers: Dr. Frank Rossiter will remain as chairman, Bruce Barragan will be the vice chair, Dan DeLoach is secretary and Art Dana is the treasurer.

    “The Hospital Authority is assuming a new role,” said Rossiter.

    Rossiter said that new role is overseeing Memorial Hospital's post sale to HCA, and has formed a joint committee to oversee the wind-down of the purchase which he said could take up to three years.

    “There are four members of the Hospital Authority and three members of the former Memorial Board,” said Rossiter.

    He also said his board is also responsible for a pre-agreed plan with HCA in indigent care.

    “We insisted on a minimum amount of money that would flow into that account and they met that demand of $25 million,” said Rossiter.

    However, that $25 million is not for the authority to use directly. Instead, Rossiter says the Authority Board will put that money in low risk secured investments. Anything the investments yield will be used for services for low income patients who need emergency care but cannot afford it.

    Rossiter said as part of the sale, HCA would control that account.

    “It's going to be in their control basically for the next three years and to that end, all interest that is generated on that money will also flow into the indigent care trust fund,” he said.

    So where would the authority prefer low income patients to seek care?

    “To provide better service for the indigent in a 24/7 availability so that we can keep them out of local emergency rooms where the costs of care gets accelerated tremendously,” he said.

    He says the authority is committed to out-patient indigent care for county residents who need medical help.

    “Preventive medicine type activities we will go at that through various grant proposals and such,” he said.

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