Unicoi County hospital board OKs latest credit line extension

Brad Hicks • Aug 27, 2013 at 7:06 AM

ERWIN — As the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board of Control continues work to rectify several concerns from the state attorney general’s office that delayed UCMH’s sale to Mountain States Health Alliance, the board made a move Monday to accept MSHA’s latest offer for financial support.

At its regular meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve a resolution accepting an additional $1 million line of credit MSHA recently offered to UCMH.

Prior to the board’s vote, UCMH interim CEO Jete Edmisson said a vote for the resolution’s approval would allow UCMH and MSHA officials to complete the documentation to effect the additional funding.

“There is still work going on on the line of credit and the documents,” Edmisson said. “Our attorneys are trying to get with (MSHA attorney) Tim Belisle, so we could still move forward.”

At the board’s June meeting, UCMH Chief Financial Officer Toni Buchanan told the board there was approximately $300,000 left on the original $2 million line of credit provided by MSHA. This original line of credit was extended to UCMH after a Nov. 28 meeting at which the UCMH Board of Control voted to move forward with an acquisition proposal from MSHA over one submitted by Wellmont Health System. This line of credit for operational expenses was one of the commitments outlined in MSHA’s acquisition proposal.

On July 15, MSHA announced that it would provide an additional $1 million line of credit to UCMH. Three days after this announcement, the UCMH Board of Control publicly voted to again accept a proposal from MSHA to acquire UCMH over an acquisition proposal submitted by Wellmont in an effort to address one of the attorney general’s concerns. MSHA President/CEO Dennis Vonderfecht previously said the MSHA Board of Directors opted to provide the additional line of credit last month after learning that only $300,000 remained on the original line of credit.

Following Monday’s meeting, Buchanan said that the original $2 million line of credit has been exhausted.

While the UCMH Board waits for the documentation pertaining to the additional line of credit to be completed, it also awaits the Unicoi County Commission’s approval of UCMH’s sale to MSHA.

On June 25, the UCMH board announced that MSHA’s acquisition of UCMH had been delayed due to concerns the attorney general’s office had regarding the process that led to the UCMH board’s vote in November.

According to a letter from the attorney general’s office, these concerns were:

n The UCMH board’s failure to obtain the approvals of the town of Erwin and Unicoi County on the sale per the UCMH charter.

n How monetary contributions outlined in MSHA’s proposal would be spent.

n The board’s failure to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Act during the sale process.

On July 22, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to approve the UCMH board’s July 18 vote. The county commission is set to fill a vacancy on its panel at an Aug. 6 meeting, and it will likely consider approval of the hospital’s sale at its regular Aug. 26 meeting.

“We’re very hopeful that we’ll get it passed, and then we’ll get it ready to go in to the attorney general,” UCMH Board of Control Chairman Roland Bailey said following Monday’s meeting.

The board also elected officers for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Bailey will remain chairman, Todd Love was elected vice-chairman and Russell Brackins was elected secretary/treasurer. The board also voted to approve the UCMH 2013-14 fiscal year budget. The budget projects a little more than $17 million in total operating revenue against approximately $21 million in total operating expenses.

Related stories:

UCMH board to weigh hospital proposals again

Update: Wellmont announces concerns over legality of UCMH process

Erwin board again supports MSHA acquisition of hospital, approves half of funding request for shelter

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