The Saga of Open Records Request re: Settle Up Money for Glen Rose Medical Center


 

The Saga of Open Records Request re: Settle Up Money for Glen Rose Medical Center
 


28 June 2013 at 6:36:47 PM
salon

Somervell County residents already know that they, despite money budgeted each year for specific amounts, were also kicking in extra money if GRMC ran short of funds. This included subsidizing the doctors as well as operating expenses. Here is Larry Shaw in June 2010 talking about *settle up* money at the end of the year.  I cannot find it right now but I believe I recall that someone told GRMC that they didn't have to come to court every time they needed money but they could simply *settle up* at the end of the year- are we to assume that even then they didn't have to come to open court to let people know how much money was needed to be operational?  If GRMC were a going concern that broke even, then they would have had no need to ask the commissioners court for more money. And bear in mind that, since the Somervell County Hospital Authority was an appointed board, rather than elected, the Commissioners had oversight over them and a duty to citizens to know and understand all monies that the hospital spent. I say this because at least one commissioner has told me that they didn't have control over that board. OF COURSE THEY DID. They had the authority to have oversight since these people were appointed. Otherwise, why the heck go sit in on the meetings if they were some autonomous group?

Anyway, here's what I wanted to know. Bear in mind that when you read this, if there is not a report that exists that shows any of this, you cannot ask for it to be supplied. That is, you can't make someone do a report that isn't already out there, but you can ask for the report if it does. (I found that out when I asked for a Land of the Dinosaurs report on how well they were doing financially and was told by Mr Best that he had never asked for one)  I figured that, if the commissioners were doing their duty, there would be reports both from the commissioners showing when Somervell County asked for money and how much, as well as a report from the Somervell County Hospital Authority showing this. After all, other Somervell County entities, such as the Heritage Museum people have to provide reports about what they're doing. And, given that this is taxpayer money at issue, it seemed to me that somebody must know and account for this.

1.      Listing of all dates since October 2009 to June 2013  that the Glen Rose Medical Center dba Somervell County Hospital Authority has asked for additional monies from Somervell County Commissioners Court.

2.      Detail of the amount of money asked for each time, as well as an itemized list of what the requested money was used for.

3.      Listing of any and all dates in which discussion of spending taxpayer money, including approval of loans for GRMC intended for Pecan Plantation, at Pecan Plantation in Hood County has come up at a county commissioners meeting as an agenda item since October 2009 till June 2013.

The answer came back from this that there was not any reports but that I could come in and look at the Anthem system and pull up all the agendas, minutes, etc in hopes of finding references to this. I'm not completely averse to doing this but the Anthem system apparently does not do a keyword search of OCR'd PDF documents but instead merely categorizes the documents. So, in other words, I could do a search of 'Hospital Authority" but it would bring up ALL documents that reference hospital authority without being specific about whether a particular document ahs to do with hospital authority asking for more money, including specifically for Pecan Plantation (which is in Hood County). I was further told that the information I sought might be contained in the auditing reports,which should show each time the authority asked for money and then provide a clue about which county commissioners meeting this was voted for and approved. It's possible, for example, that this reference in the 2011 audting report is about the *settle up* money

For fiscal year 2011, the County has budgeted $959,000 for the operation of hospital plus $525,585 for indigent health care. The County paid $927,319 for supplemental operations support during the year and an additional $411,250 in indigent health care to the component unit during the year

Is the amount referenced here the Glen Rose Medical Center beg money? Means there ought to be a check transaction (or more than one) for that money, yes? Regardless, Somervell County budgeted certain funds for operation of the hospital and GRMC couldn't run it without an additional $927,319 bucks.

Meantime, I asked a county commissioner whether he knew if there were such reports. He told me he didn't know that the hospital authority ever asked for additional money, couldn't recall ever voting about it and had not ever seen any reports. I was kind of surprised by this. It's one thing for me to ask for a report that might not exist anywhere and quite another for the people responsible for overseeing our taxpayer money not to ask for a report, or for an appointed board not to supply it. That would also mean that in the last 2 years or so that GRMC never came publicly into court to ask for additional money in full view and knowledge of taxpayers. But it might be that the commissioner simply doesn't recall this happening. He also was not aware that the Somervell County Hospital Authority had taken out a $50,000 loan for improvements and personnel payments for Pecan Plantation-did this never come up in commissioners court? (The related question is: is this part of Somervell County Hospital District's debt?)  Never in a report? Assuming that is true, why would this not be fully transparent? That commissioner has told me he will look into this, which I greatly appreciate.

 

 


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