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HCHD swiftly retiring debt

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Houston County Hospital District LogoBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – At the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors’ meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 16, members voted to pay $225,000 towards its debt of $1,450,000 to Prosperity Bank. 

After hearing the regular reports from the hospital personnel and the ambulance report, the Board moved on to the critical topic of debt retirement. The first course of action was to approve the amendment to the loan with Prosperity Bank. This amendment is routine for these types of promissory loans; today’s was the 6th amendment, authorizing interest on the loan at 4.25%. The second item was a recommendation from the Finance Committee to approve a specified prepayment on the bank loan. 

The Finance Committee had convened on Nov. 8 to discuss the District’s finances to determine if an additional payment was feasible. After reviewing the financials provided by Dick Murchison, the Committee agreed to recommend that the District pay $225,000 at this time and $500,000 in February towards debt retirement.  After the two payments are made, the balance of the loan will be $725,000 plus interest. 

These payments will cut the balance owed in half, bringing welcome financial relief to the District. The Board was quick to commend Brandon Bridges at Prosperity Bank for his part in working with the District on its loan.

Introduced at the meeting was Crockett Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, Anthony Cumbie. 

Cumbie gave several reports, including the write-off cost of indigent care, which amounted to approximately $687,675 over a three-month period. Emergency Management Services reported that they had received 300 calls. Out of that number, 50 were canceled, with 185 transported to Crockett, Huntsville, Lufkin, and Palestine ER facilities. When asked about the cancellations, it was explained that ambulances are sometimes dispatched for police or fire calls. When individuals don’t need EMS assistance, the requests are canceled. 

The Finance Committee also reported on the shared expense between CMC and HCHD for replacing and installing two cooling towers at the hospital. The cost for the HCHD portion was a little over $83k.

President Barbara Crowson also noted that Dr. Kelly Tjelmeland was listed as a “Super Doctor” in a recent edition of Texas Monthly Magazine. Tjelmeland,  one of the owners of Crockett Medical Center, specializes in aesthetic and plastic surgery. Crowson congratulated Tjelmeland on making the list.

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