Attempt by Somervell County Hospital District Board to Change Terms of 501a (Slush Fund)

I see what you did there

Attempt by Somervell County Hospital District Board to Change Terms of 501a (Slush Fund)

6 November 2014 at 12:55:03 PM

Got a copy of the board packet from one of the active board members. Noticed in the first section, which is about the 501a contract, that there is now an undated addendum. To me, this looks like an attempt to bring in what Ray Reynolds and Mike Honea are ALREADY DOING that violates the 501a contract with LESS accountability; I CALL that a SLUSH FUND. . (Of course, I remind again that 4 of the board members voted NOT TO EVEN FOLLOW THE DANG CONTRACT, with CHEERS from the audience-see my post about SHAME ON YOU CHIP HARRISON) . Apparently there is to be a closed workshop, attended by an attorney, not open to the public, to discuss the 501a. Remember as you read the below that Ray Reynolds says the PURPOSE of the 501a is for shortfall money; I assume this means that if there were no plans to give hospital money (ie, TAXPAYER MONEY) to the separate doctor's organization, there would be zip need for a 501a.

First, let's look at what Section C4 says NOW (is it the intent of the addendum that this SUPERSEDES this section?)  Notice C2 shows what OSA is for. I certainly have no disagreement with giving money to the doctors 501a BUT IT SHOULD BE ACCOUNTED FOR as per the contract. The Request for OSA is supposed to be reviewed AND DOCUMENTED (as opposed to just adding money to an account). Who documents the request? THE DOCTORS. "A detailed use of OSA shall be provided to the Medical Center after each OSA transfer showing how the OSA was used ". Who does that? THE DOCTORS. BECAUSE they're getting TAX MONEY to their separate organization. How do we KNOW that the DOCTORS are supposed to do this? "Failure to provide required information will delay transfer". Because, you know, there's supposed to be ACCOUNTABILITY before and after transferring money. 

Now look at this. Does Glen Rose Medical Center HAVE TO give money to the 501a? No. "Nothing herein shall be construed to create a debt of the Medical Center." Also, "Nothing herein is intended to or shall be construed to create an employment, joint venture, partnership, or similar arrangement between the Authority and the Physician Group". 

Here is the new addendum. Notice that, as before the Physician Group makes a request for OSA. What is NOT spelled out and not clear is the second line "The request for cash support (OSA) will be generated by the CFO". Is this an ADDITIONAL request for cash support? Surely, Michael Honea is not trying to say that this is the SAME THING as what the doctor's organization is supposed to provide. Next thing is that the CEO (Ray Reynolds) can approve (OR MODIFY) the request. Since, per Ray Reynolds before, Michael Honea was simply monitoring an account and adding money to it if it looked like it was getting low, gee, actually, having a process, presumably always in written, SIGNED documentation is a step up (I ASSUME that written documentation is the case, since neither Reynolds nor Honea have been doing it up to now, shouldn't that be SPELLED OUT?) 

Do you see what's MISSING? The part that says that the doctors have to come back AFTER THEY GOT THE MONEY and issue a report that they spent it on what they said they did. 

So, either the physicians are supposed to generate the Request for OSA and come back and SHOW that they spent it the way they said they did OR, ambiguously, Michael Honea does the OSA and then gives it to Ray. And none of this is brought to the board automatically, even as a notification, UNLESS the amount falls below the total budgeted annual net income (loss) of the Physician Group. Does this strike YOU the same way it strikes me? 

What I'm going to be very interested in seeing is WHO votes to change this to the Slush Fund addendum?

Second question I have is about why the fool the workshop conversation is occurring in a CLOSED session, even with a lawyer present. Seems to me that, as per TOMA "a governmental body may, for example, consult with its attorney in executive session about the legal issues raised in connection with awarding a contract, but it may not discuss the merits of a proposed contract, financial considerations or other non-legal matters in an executive session held under section 551.071 of the Government Code". Even if the workshop doesn't come to some decision, I believe that the discussion of the 501a contract, including these changes, should be done before the public, especially since it involves optional taxpayer money. 

P.S. My personal feeling also as a non-elected taxpayer is that I want accountability, and I want the security of knowing that if there are contractual agreements they are going to be followed. I don't care if the doctors are employees or have a 501a but dang, the "letter of the law" ought to be followed instead of this pathetic attempt by Ray Reynolds to weaken the terms of a newly revised contract to be what they are doing right now, which is operating a slush fund. It's the reason I filed a complaint last year with the sheriff's department and generally, the reason why I believe if you don't want to follow contracts with specific terms that you sign your name to, then who can trust you as an entity? 

UPDATE: The board voted for this weakened stripped down travesty. 

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