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Contract approved by VDMC trustees

Board moves ahead with agreement on a five to two vote Wednesday

November 1, 2012
Anne Blankenship - Managing Editor ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

The Van Diest Medical Center board of trustees met for the second time in two days on Wednesday after to approve the proposed management contract with the Mercy Network of hospitals.

When the board was unable to come to a consensus Tuesday afternoon, members of the executive committee of the board and Mercy Network liaisons, met following the trustees' session to hash out the issues of concern. Those issues included what some board members felt were poorly worded sections of the contract as well as clause that requires the administrator to be a Mercy employee. Four of the board members indicated at Tuesday's meeting that there were enough issues with the contract to prevent them from voting in favor of the contract.

"We met with Peg (O'Connor) and Bob Mason of Mercy to discuss the contract and came to a consensus that we could approve the contract and move it to the vote," he said. The board members were given an outline of the concerns that were discussed by the executive committee and they spent several minutes reviewing the information.

Trustee Don Bottorff made the motion to approve the affiliation agreement as modified. He also placed the condition on the approval that the executive committee meet to develop a transition plan.

"They need to work out a transition arrangement as far as the administrator and administration of the hospital," he said. "I want the executive committee to work through that with Mercy and the results be reported back to the board at the next regular meeting."

John Hemingway said the contract put the board in an uncomfortable position.

"We going to have a different agreement than we have been living off all of these years," he said. "So we're asked to choose what direction the hospital's going. That's not very comfortable.

"It seems like all the employees feel like Mercy is very helpful to them. That's a real plus for our hospital," he said.

Hemingway said with regard to the administrator, he still wasn't sure the contract was what he wanted.

"We'll have to wait and see," he said.

Bottorff said that was why the transition plan was so important.

The board approved the contract with Henry Witt and George Heller voting against the motion.

According to the motion, the executive committee is expected to present its report to the board on Nov. 20.



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