UPDATE: MHTC terminates contract with Little River

Staff Writer

A special meeting of the Memorial Hospital of Texas County Authority Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening led went into an executive session after regular business was discussed. Board members, the chief of medical staff, controller, county commissioners and two trustees remained in the room to discuss matters pertaining to the contract with Little River Healthcare and its subsidiary, Timberlands Healthcare.
Last month, a report from the Houston County Courier outlined the short-notice closure of Timberlands Hospital in Crockett, Texas. Reports state Timberlands Healthcare was in the process of filing for bankruptcy.
On Monday afternoon, the commissioners, trustees, District Attorney Mike Boring and representatives from Little River went into executive session to discuss the matters potentially affecting Memorial Hospital. After that meeting was complete, no action was taken by the county commissioners. It was stated there were no items on which the commissioners could take action.
After 18 minutes in the regular portion of the special meeting, trustees Buddy Holbert and Craig Barnes voted to enter into executive session to discuss management of Memorial Hospital. The trustees, Chief of Medical Staff Dr. David King, Controller Michele Reust, and commissioners Jack Strain, Dicky Bryan and Ted Keeling remained in the executive session. Several hospital employees sat in silently at the meeting.
After a roughly hour and a half executive session, Holbert and Barnes moved to mutually terminate the management agreement with Little River, effective upon Little River representatives signing the termination. Afterward, Holbert gave a statement on the matter during board chairman's report.
"In regards to the management of the hospital, I'd like to thank Little River for their participation in trying to make us a better hospital. (I) wish them only the best," Holbert stated.
"I would also like to make a notation that none of the money we received from the county or within the hospital was used to pay or go to Little River at all. I want to make that clear, that the money the county has given us and the money we have in accounts payable, we used to pay accounts payable."
The initial agreement with Little River had both the management and county commit $500,000 each toward accounts payable and improvements at the hospital. The funding committed by the county commissioners went toward accounts payable for the hospital. Little River committed funding toward other improvements.
The board of trustees has appointed an interim clinical supervisor in the absence of a CEO, and will leave Reust in charge of financial functions. The board will handle "any other matters that are needing to be handled", according to a statement from Holbert.