Uniform election discussed at hospital board meeting

The Nolan County Hospital District Board of Directors met for their regular monthly meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 28, 2011 at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH).The board meeting opened with a discussion of a possible change to the May uniform election date to November. RPMH Administrator Donna Boatright, along with the Nolan County Clerk Pat McGowan, led the discussion on what potential possibilities and options were available.The reasons given for the election change were to keep voters informed as well as to possibly result in a larger turnout. Three seats, if contested, would need to be voted on in May but if the date change was approved, the members' terms would be extended to November.Ms. McGowan also noted that there would be an advantage to shift the election date but noted that until the county could hire an election administrator, which has not been done due to finances, individual elections would have to take place. While she is unable to personally help due to staffing, Ms. McGowan stated that she would assist in the hospital elections as much as possible.She also gave the board several options regarding voting equipment: leasing, purchasing, or borrowing equipment from the county. However, as the hospital elections would coincide with general elections in the same polling places, the hospital would have to provide their own election workers.The addition of the hospital elections would also be a concern due to the size of the polling places as the hospital elections would be on a separate ballot than the general election. Furthermore, the districts for the hospital differ from the precincts of the county.Pros and cons to both dates were presented to the board regarding the issue. Further discussion was held on the matter later in the meeting, but the board will consider the issue and make a decision at the December meeting.A condensed overview of the October 2011 finances were given, being reported as under budget for the month overall. Specifically noted, as a result of the updates to the facilities through McKinstry, utilities came in at $9,000 less than the previous year. The financial statements, accounts payable and payroll and the bad debt write-off list for October 2011 were all approved by the board. In addition, the minutes from the previous meetings were reviewed and approved, including the minutes from the special-called board meeting on Oct. 11, 2011.Following a closed-session meeting, the board also approved the Credentialing Files and the Quality Report. Additionally, three items were presented for approval for possible improvement of the real-estate facility plan. Two were approved, while one was tabled and postponed for a later date.An item which required no action was the annual report of the Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department (SNCHD) Family Planning program. The board members were previously given a copy of the document highlighting the program, which was briefly summarized by Ms. Boatright.The Family Planning program is financially assisted by RPMH, which offers counseling and medical procedures to those who participate and benefit. The program was noted by Ms. Boatright as very important and a good use of finances in order to provide assistance.Dr. Robert Eaker gave a brief Medical Staff report, followed by Ms. Boatright with the Administrator's report. Board members were given a schedule of upcoming Christmas-related activities within the hospital, and the December board meeting was scheduled in order to accommodate holiday traveling.Ms. Boatright also informed the board on the recent marketing that has been taking place regarding the newest physician on the campus, Dr. Tim Jones. He will begin his appointments on Monday, Dec. 5.