Hospital buys land to expand


At Monday afternoon’s Hospital Commission meeting, Chair Michael Merry announced there was no news from the architects regarding the attempt to patch together a plan to remodel Eureka Springs Hospital. However, commissioners identified documents required by the title company relative to the impending purchase of three lots adjacent to ESH property, and voted to withdraw up to $142,000 from a money market account to make the purchase. The sale closes Feb. 28. Commissioners also voted to authorize Merry and Mayor Butch Berry to sign the closing documents.

In a related matter, Merry mentioned the Hospital Guild members told him they want to have a small gift shop in the remodeled hospital if possible. They intend to keep the Purple House as a fundraiser, but the gift shop would be for families to buy gifts for patients.

Guild members had also expressed their concern that the Purple House might become a casualty to the remodeling. Merry stated plans at this point do not affect that building, but plans are not very far along. Commissioner Suzanne Tourtelot remarked the Guild needed reassurance “we won’t leave them high and dry.” She said the Guild would continue to have the Purple House, even if in a new location.

Vicki Andert, Chief of Nursing at ESH, informed commissioners that any space in the hospital not devoted to patient care negatively affects their cost reimbursement, and the gift shop would not be for patient care. Commissioner John House commented a gift shop inside the facility would be a low priority for him at this point, especially with so few patients in the hospital.

Getting organized

Merry stated the commission needed a strategy for organizing and storing its minutes and other documents, and suggested they use Dropbox, an online file hosting service. He said commissioners would be able to review documents whenever necessary.

Commissioner M.J. Sell commented a Dropbox file might be useful, but all their documents must be available for public viewing upon request, and the City Clerk should have copies of everything. Commissioner Barbara Dicks also pointed out that records are so scattered she does not know where to find some of them.

House echoed Sell’s point that the commission has no secrets, and even with a Dropbox account the priority ought to be rounding up all their files and getting them in one format.

Dicks pointed out she has found few historical records to use as a resource or for a new commissioner to learn from. She said she has been trying to gather documents to organize them, and on a visit to their bank, she learned the commission had two safe deposit boxes none of them knew about. She said no one at the bank knew who had the keys or what might be stored inside. To drill out the lock to get inside might cost $175 each.

Commissioners wasted no time voting to get the mysterious boxes opened. They also agreed organizing their records should be a priority, and out of that work should come a folder of basic information for each commissioner to maintain as they proceed.

Other items, including HI clinic

  • Merry stated their Certificates of Deposit earned $36,174 last year, and if it had not been for the work of late commissioner Robert Walling reinvesting their assets, the interest would have been less than $800.
  • Andert announced the new ESH clinic in Holiday Island opens March 1. The address is 2 Parkcliff Drive, across from the Post Office. Dr. Paul Daidone will be the physician on duty.

Next meeting will be Monday, March 19, at 12:30, at ECHO Clinic.