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Unicoi County Memorial Hospital board OKs line of credit

Jennifer Sprouse • Dec 6, 2012 at 8:56 PM

ERWIN –– Unicoi County Memorial Hospital’s Board of Control approved a $1 million line of credit resolution during a called meeting Thursday night.

The meeting Thursday was the first one held by the board since it approved the sale of the financially struggling hospital to Mountain States Health Alliance last week.

Jete Edmisson, interim chief executive officer, said the $1 million loan from Bank of Tennessee was necessary to immediately pay hospital vendors while waiting for a $2 million line of credit that MSHA has agreed to provide once the sale of the hospital is completed.

“We have several vendors that haven’t been paid due to the computer conversion and what this did is give us the capability ... (to) pay these vendors off and get the process so that we can assure that we always have the supplies we need for the patients,” he said. “Doing this, we have a low interest rate, we’re able to make sure everything’s great with the patient and we don’t have to worry about legal issues.”

Edmisson said he hoped this line of credit, set at a 4 percent interest rate, also would ease pressure on board members to not rush any decisions in the coming weeks.

“It’s just another step toward everything we’re doing,” he said. “I’m real pleased with the way tonight went.”

Board members also approved the Audit Committee’s report, as well as unanimously elected Roland Bailey as the new board chairman and Todd Love as vice chairman. Bailey replaces Glenn Tilson as the chairman.

Representatives from Mountain States and Wellmont Health System were present at Thursday’s meeting.

Although the board approved the sale to MSHA last week, many community residents are still hoping the decision will be overturned and the hospital will be purchased by Wellmont.

According to a release, supporters of Wellmont will hold a rally next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the gymnasium at Unicoi County Intermediate School.

The rally is not sponsored by Wellmont, but town and county supporters of the health system are asked to attend to sign petitions and write letters to the Tennessee attorney general in support of having a choice in health care.

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