County considers closing Urgent Care Center

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By Alice Du Pont

Gadsden County commissioners will likely have to call a special meeting early next week to determine how long the Urgent Care Center will remain open, Arthur Lawson, the county's purchasing director, said Thursday.

“We may have to close it, there is no other choice," said commission Chairman Eugene Lamb.

In a memo marked "urgent" to Clerk of Courts Nicholas Thomas, Interim County Administrator Bud Parmer and county commissioners, along with Finance Director Connie McLendon, said the balance in the Urgent Care fund is $40,840.09 as of March 23.

"This office will need direction regarding the payment of the payroll ending April 6 and any accounts payable costs occurring after this week. We will continue to owe the $7,000 per month and the 12 percent of monthly collections to Tallahassee Memorial (Hospital) as the Urgent Care remains open. We have already incurred the cost of utilities and communications that has yet to be paid for this month. The payroll for another two weeks pay period ending April 6 is approximately $23,000," McLendon wrote.

There are currently 17 part-time and five full-time employees at the center.

According to McLendon, there are no available funds to transfer from the Gadsden Community Hospital trust fund and that the remaining $25,000 in that fund is due to Gadsden Hospital Inc. for attorney services.

The Urgent Care Center, which opened in December 2006, experienced financial problems a year ago. Corey Fleming, Urgent Care administrator, requested last year that county commissioners allow him to require photo identification from those seeking services. At that time, he said, many bills were being returned for incorrect addresses because patients were giving false information.