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MSHA extends another $1M credit to Unicoi County Memorial Hospital

Kayla Carter • Aug 27, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Mountain States Health Alliance will fund Unicoi County Memorial Hospital an additional $1 million, which brings the MSHA line of credit cost total to $3 million.

“The MSHA board of directors has approved a $1 million addition to the line of credit for Unicoi County Memorial Hospital,” said Marvin Eichorn, MSHA senior vice president and chief financial officer. “When the original $2 million line of credit runs out, the hospital will be able to draw from these additional dollars to continue operations through the remainder of the transition process.”

The hospital will need to continue operations through the end of a process initiated when two requests for proposals were submitted to Wellmont Health System and MSHA by the UCMH board last year.

Both health systems submitted proposals and since then the UCMH board has approved the MSHA proposal twice.

“It’s important to note that these funds are a temporary fix for the hospital,” Eichorn said. “The real improvements that the hospital needs in order to become financially viable can’t be done until the hospital officially becomes part of Mountain States Health Alliance.”

However, MSHA’s acquisition of UCMH was thwarted by a state attorney general response released last month.

According to a letter from the attorney general’s office addressed to attorneys representing the board, the office’s concerns include:

n The board’s failure to comply with the provisions of the state’s Open Meetings Act in its acceptance of the MSHA acquisition proposal.

n Its failure to obtain the approval of the town of Erwin and Unicoi County on the sale per the UCMH charter.

n Concerns over how monetary contributions outlined in MSHA’s acquisition proposal would be spent.

UCMH Board of Control Chairman Roland Bailey said the board plans to address all of the attorney general concerns and the money will help them accomplish that goal.

“I’m very pleased that they took that step,” said UCMH Board of Control Chairman Roland Bailey. “That will allow us to keep our operations going and also allow the board to address the concerns of the attorney general and get his concerns satisfied.”

On Thursday, the board will hold a called meeting to consider adoption of a proposal from either Mountain States Health Alliance or Wellmont Health System to acquire UCMH and its health care assets.

This public meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of Unicoi County High School.

For a related story, click here.

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