TMH backs out of support agreement on hospital

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By Alice Du Pont

Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has put Gadsden County on notice that it will discontinue consulting on the facility by June of this year.

In a letter dated Feb. 23, sent to Gadsden Hospital Inc. Board of Directors Chairman Craig McMillan, Jason Moore, TMH vice president, said the services will be discontinued.

"I was very surprised. I met with Mr. Moore and Mr. (Mark) O'Bryan a few days before and they expressed to me that they wanted to change some provisions of the contract, but I had no idea they wanted to back away from the hospital," McMillan said.

Those services, according to the letter, include "technical support and consulting services during the current renovation process. This would include general consulting regarding construction and equipment selection. TMH's consulting role would end on or before the opening of the facility in June 2009. Because of TMH's interest in the success of your hospital and in consideration of the financial constraints of your organization, we will donate these services at no charge."

In addition, he recommended that the county begin recruiting an experienced rural hospital nurse administrator and experienced business office personnel. TMH also requested a transfer agreement for patients that Gadsden Community Hospital may not be able to provide care for.

Regardless of TMH's position, McMillan said he and the GHI board will still move forward and open the hospital.

"We've got to move ahead and carry on. We'll make it. We'll go back to the way it was 20 years ago when the county operated our hospital. I have talked to every doctor in the county except maybe two, and they feel we're headed in the right direction," McMillan said.

TMH will continue to operate the Urgent Care Center and the decision will not it.