Decatur County, hospital agree on memorandum for indigent care

Published 8:44 pm Friday, August 14, 2015

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a Memorandum of Understanding with Memorial Hospital and Manor Tuesday regarding the funding of the cost of indigent care services.

The memorandum further cements what was laid out in the service delivery strategy the county agreed to in March.

“This memorandum of understanding shows that we all can work together to reach a common goal,” said Billy Walker, Memorial Hospital and Manor CEO. “We are very pleased that the Board of Commissioners have agreed to assist us with the cost of the indigent care, which will help our hospital make much needed improvements to our facility and to purchase equipment. Many of our needed facility improvements and equipment purchases have been delayed due to having to use the funds to cover the operational expense of providing care to the indigent patients.”

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The document specifies that any funds will be generated by a unified ad valorum property tax levy assessed by the Decatur County Board of Commissioners. The tax is never to exceed more than two mils per year.

Decatur County attorney Bruce Kirbo said that although the SDS agreement was clear as to what Decatur County was responsible for in regards to the hospital, he was pleased with how well the two entities worked together.

“They cooperated in doing this memorandum of understanding and made some concessions in it that, quite frankly, I don’t think they had to make,” Kirbo said. “It demonstrated how two entities can work together and it also benefited our Decatur County citizens.”

The SDS agreement states, “The Hospital Authority shall establish an Indigent Care Fund, which shall receive all revenue from all sources for which the Fund is eligible. After the receipt and application of all such funds to the cost thereof, and in the event the Indigent Care Fund is left with a deficiency as determined by the auditors of the Hospital Authority, the Hospital Authority shall provide to the County the Hospital Authority’s Auditor’s written report and request through its designee of the amount needed to pay said deficiency. Commencing in 2015, the County agrees to fund said deficiency by a uniform ad valorem property tax levy in an amount not to exceed two mills per year.”