The Henry County Medical Center board of trustees adopted a formal resolution Thursday asking the Henry County Commission to authorize the hospital to borrow $4.5 million to finance capital improvements and other HCMC projects during the next three years.

The bond would be repaid through hospital revenue in the next 25 years, with a fixed rate of 2.18% for the first 10 years.

Board chairman Scott Whitby asked the hospital’s chief financial officer, Brad Bloemer, what this bond would do to HCMC debt load, saying he didn’t want that load to become too high.

Bloemer said the new bond would increase the total debt to $28.3 million, but wouldn’t change the yearly payments very much at all from the current $2.44 million level.

Chief Executive Officer Lisa Casteel added that the debt load would remain right in the middle of benchmarks compared to other hospitals.

In other business:

• Bad debts for the month were approved for $616,667.

• The board approved the September capital request of $101,804 for budgeted purchases of cath lab lights and booms for $91,664 and for unbudgeted purchases of two vapotherm units for $10,140 for the respiratory therapy department to use in COVID treatments.

• HCMC honored 86 employees with a total of 1,035 years of service to the organization. The HCMC employee of the year is Meggan Walker, formerly with the Healthcare Center and now with Home Health, and managers of the year are Steve Delaney with Accounting and DeAnn Berry with CCU/PCU/Cardiac Rehab.

“We are so grateful to have such talent among our partners and management at HCMC,” Casteel said.

• The board agreed to lease the Surgery Center and Kentucky Lake Urologic Associates for six more years, since the current 10-year lease is ending. This will help urologists Joe Mobley Jr. and III invest in a significant upgrade in the heating/air conditioning system, which may cost up to $800,000.

• Casteel reported on two recent accreditations. One is the recertification by the Joint Commission for the Joint Center of Excellence, originally accredited in 2018. The other is a new certification in urology from Medtronics for a Center of Excellence in overactive bladder care. Dr. Mobley III was the first physician in Tennessee and one of a first few nationally to be recognized for this achievement.

• Casteel reported eight complaints and 32 grievances from May through August, less than 0.25% of hospital patient visits. She said positive comments are just as many if not more than the complaints.

• The board recommended the county commission reappoint board members Dr. Whitby and Sabra Fuller to the HCMC board.

• Bloemer updated the board on insurance coverage and risks to the board, saying $25 million in earthquake insurance isn’t much, but the cost probably will skyrocket if this is increased.

• Casteel told the board an offer has been made to a general surgeon, as talks with Saint Thomas Hospital continue about locating a full-time cardiologist in Paris.

• She discussed the Cancer Care Center, which lost money in 2020 and is currently at a loss for 2021 at mid-year — but with a bright future forecast.

• Casteel said patient volume has decreased this year for the hyperbaric oxygen program because of COVID-19, but it is still making money.

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