City begins hospital ownership process

Published 8:17 pm Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The city of Troy’s Health Care Authority took its first order of business Wednesday, as it voted to begin the process to take ownership of hospital property.

The board, set in place by the Troy City Council in anticipation of acquiring the Troy Regional Medical Center real estate, approved the city’s official purchase of the hospital property — a vote that could cost the city up to $14 million initially.

This approval comes after the physician owners of the hospital voted last week to accept the city’s offer and finance the property through the Health Care Authority.

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The doctors group will still continue operation of the hospital, but the city will own the building and collect rent payments.

“We’re going to continue to support the doctors group to be successful,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “But if for some reason it does not work, this will make an easy transition to do what we have to do to make the hospital successful.”

The official ownership will not take place for at least a few more months, but Lunsford said the process is now in place after the Health Care Authority’s vote.

While the board has approved to issue bonds up to $14 million, Lunsford said it is unlikely the costs will go far above $11 million.

Right now, the anticipated amount will cover the $10.5 million real estate price, the $452,000 approved to repair the air conditioning unit and the cost of issuance from Superior Bank.

Doctors will pay back all the costs to the city through long-term payments.

At this point, the three-member health care board is just a financing vehicle to the doctors group. But, if at any point the city is required to take over operations, Lunsford said the board can be extended up to 11 members.

When the city once owned and operated the hospital, Lunsford said it was through a similar Health Care Authority.

“As long as we serve in the role of holding the assets, issuing bonds and collecting rent, this will remain a three-member board,” Lunsford said. “If for any reason, we acquire the operation side of the hospital, this board would be expanded.”

The board’s members now are: Chairman Sherrill Crowe, Vice Chairman Driscol Colquett and Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Debose.