The Memorial Hospital Board approves 6-year Quorum Health Resources contract |

The Memorial Hospital Board approves 6-year Quorum Health Resources contract

Nicole Inglis

The Memorial Hospital Board approved Tuesday, 7-0, a new contract with health care management company Quorum Health Resources at a special meeting.

The most recent QHR contract was negotiated and signed in 2004, and will expire June 30.

Board chairman Ron Danner, chair-elect Missy Bonaker and secretary/treasurer Don Myers worked for months on renegotiating the contract, Bonaker said.

They began by looking at options of signing on with other management companies, but ultimately decided to stay with QHR through a crucial time period, Bonaker said.

Bonaker, who replaced Ron Danner as board chair after he resigned May 26, said it was important to maintain continuity during a transitional period.

The Memorial Hospital moved into its new $42.6 million facility at 750 Hospital Loop in November 2009, is approaching the closing of its Department of Housing and Urban Development loan and will begin paying principal loan payments next month.

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"We're right there with our HUD closing and we need the continuity," Bonaker said about the decision to stay with QHR. "If we don't have Quorum, then we don't have our (chief financial officer) because he's a Quorum employee. QHR has been guiding us through the whole HUD thing. And, we've just had no problems with them."

Bonaker told the board she was "very pleased" with the outcome of the negotiations.

The annual fee increased from $220,000 to $278,516, which she said is normal for that type of contract.

TMH chief executive officer George Rohrich, also a QHR employee, said he was looking forward to working with the board to move TMH into the future.

"We're expecting so many good things to come to this organization," he said. "With an increase and business, and patient care and quality at all time highs, continuity is crucial."

He said 2010 might be a difficult year to get through, but putting the management

contract negotiation behind them and moving forward without disruption will be a benefit.

Bonaker, whose term as chairwoman will last two-and-a-half years, was also thinking ahead.

She said the contract with QHR could position the hospital well for the future of national health care.

"Health care is a major, major issue in the country right now," she said. "What's going to happen is that hospitals are going to need to partner together and my goal is to make this hospital attractive to other hospitals."

To achieve that and other long-term goals, the board will have work well with the three new members added in the last five months.

John Kinkaid replaced Corrie Ponikvar, who did not reapply for another term, in January.

Forrest Luke was appointed to replace Melton Sullivan, who resigned in April. Luke participated in his first board meeting in May.

After Ron Danner's May 26 resignation, the county Tuesday appointed Tinneal Gerber to the open seat.

Tuesday night was Gerber's first board meeting.

But, Bonaker said she has confidence in the fresh faces and the board's ability to move forward as a whole.

"It's a good group," she said.

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