Hospital board to seek attorney general opinion on directors’ terms

Courtesy of the Glen Rose News

Screenshot from July 31 board meeting courtesy GRMC

Screen shot from July 31 board meeting courtesy GRMC

The Somervell County Hospital District board last week voted to ask the Texas Attorney General for an opinion about whether two board members who were elected by tie votes – Eugene Brode and Paul Harper – should serve one- or two-year terms.

State law calls for those receiving the highest number of votes on such a board to serve two-year terms and those receiving the smallest to serve one year, but there was confusion and heated debate about the wording of the law.

The board also heard two different scenarios for a 2015 budget – one based on a slight increase in the tax rate and one on a slight decrease.

The budget figures were discussed at a Tuesday special budget workshop meeting and at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

See the videos of the meetings at https://www.youtube.com/user/GlenRoseMedCenter.

At the budget workshop, Somervell Central District Chief Appraiser Wes Rollen told the board that the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant lost a little over 10 percent of its overall taxable value for 2014. The CAD and Luminant, operator of the plant, agreed on a taxable value of $1.95 billion, down from $2.2 billion a year ago.

The board must publicly post a preliminary hospital district property tax rate by Sept. 1 and approve a 2015 budget by Sept. 30, including time for a 10-day public notice and public hearing.

Michael Honea, Glen Rose Medical Center’s chief financial officer, presented the board with two scenarios of tax rates – one at 11.34 cents per $100 of appraised property value and one at 9 cents, an amount requested by some board members. The current tax rate is 10.5 cents.

Under the 11.34-cent rate, the medical center would remove a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for employees and end up with a $600,000 shortfall in funding capital projects such as new equipment, Honea said.

He noted one of the hospital’s top priorities for funding is an anesthesia machine. The medical center’s is so old that it can no longer get parts, he said.

“We’ve got an old piece of equipment we’re hooking people up to in surgery,” Honea added.

Under the 9-cent tax rate scenario, the medical center would have to eliminate seven full-time equivalent employees, enact a 4 percent salary cut across the board, slice its public relations budget in half, eliminate all travel and education expenses within the facility and eliminate health fairs, Honea said.

“The biggest thing is in personnel; that is kind of your quickest and easiest way to get there” to the smaller budget based on a 9-cent tax rate, Honea said. However, he said a 4 percent salary cut would lead to a “mass exodus” because health care employees could find better paying jobs elsewhere.

Because of minimum staffing requirements for medical staff, non-clinical staff would be the first place to cut, Honea said – areas such as the business office, central supply, housekeeping, information technology and marketing.

“Those areas would get hit the hardest because you can’t start cutting too many nurses,” he said. “As an example, our average daily census on the floor is seven patients. You’ve got to have two nurses on the floor at all times to care for those seven patients. That’s a 4 to 1 ratio, so unless we get higher, you can’t really impact that and you can’t cut a body out of there. You’ve got to have it for safety purposes.”

Honea said the budget anticipates revenue increases in two areas – a 2 percent increase for in-patient numbers and a 3.5 percent increase in outpatient care.

Ray Reynolds, GRMC chief executive offer, said that the hospital has averaged 60.1 admissions per month. The 2015 budget projects an average of 62 monthly admissions.

With two new physicians starting practices, GRMC could gain additional revenue after the doctors get their practices up and running, Honea and Reynolds added.

Board chairman Chip Harrison said he noticed $3 million in bad debts in the budget figures.

“Explain to me what bad debt is,” he said.

“Bad debt is people primarily coming in the back door (through the ER) and they don’t pay,” Reynolds responded. “It’s probably the No. 1 problem that health care is dealing with. Bad debt is a huge problem for all of us.”
Reynolds noted that before the ER can even ask people if they have insurance, it has to do a medical screening to determine if they need immediate medical attention.

“So we’ve incurred a cost before we even can collect from the patient,” Reynolds said.

“Patients are smart,” he added. “Patients know that they can come to an emergency room anywhere — ours or anybody else’s — and they will be seen. They may have to wait in line, but they will be seen because hospitals have to see them in the emergency room. Physicians are not obligated to see them at all if it’s not an urgent matter.”

The medical center tries to collect debts in house first, then turns them over to an outside collection agency, Reynolds said.

“Three million dollars is a heck of a lot of money,” he added. “If we solved that, we’ve solved our financial issues, absolutely.”

A lot of the bad debt comes from uninsured patients. About 4 percent of the hospital’s in-patients are “self-pay,” Honea noted, but 27 percent of the ER’s patients are self-pay.

“So your patients have figured out the clinic is going to ask them for money, but the ER is going to see them no matter what,” Honea said. “It’s abuse of the system.”

Board member Ronald Hankins said he did not want to see a lower tax rate given the medical center’s financial situation.

“From my standpoint, looking at a tax rate cut at this point with what’s going on is absolutely irresponsible,” he said.

However, Hankins noted that Comanche Peak’s value has fallen mainly due to market factors – the drop in natural gas prices that made nuclear energy less profitable. As those prices goes up, Comanche Peak’s value could rise in the future, he said.

One of the most contentious issues at the regular board meeting had to do with the district’s longtime attorney, Kevin Reed. Several board members want to replace Reed. Harper made a motion to send seven prospective replacements a list of questions.

That prompted a lively exchange between Harper and Hankins, former Somervell County attorney.

Harper said he thought it would be easier to come up with a list of questions to give the attorneys rather than have each of one of them appear before the board.

Reed has represented the hospital for 20 years and is knowledgeable about rural health care issues, Hankins said.

“I don’t understand why you’re so anxious to get rid of him,” he said.

Harper responded that he disagreed with Reed about his opinion on the term of office question. He also questioned the procedures Reed used to deal with a petition to recall the election that created the hospital district and its temporary board.

Reed should have been looking for ways to approve the signatures on the petition instead of looking for ways not to approve them, Harper said.

Harper’s motion died.

Board President John Parker said the board was “anxious for the attorneys to come so we can give them the third degree in person.”

Board member Dr. Karen Burroughs asked that the attorneys under consideration for the job have equivalent experience with legal work for rural hospitals.

Harrison said he just wanted the board to be “good stewards” with taxpayer money and find an attorney that might be less costly.

“Most people don’t want cheap lawyers,” Hankins said.

Another issue on the agenda prompting heated debate had to do with the hospital’s Facebook page. Shortly after the new board was elected in May, Harper – who was elected secretary of the board — took over administration of the page, which previously was under the control of hospital staff.

Hankins wanted to know where Harper got the authority to take over the Facebook page and why he didn’t come to the board for discussion about the move.

“I think that’s incidental to the office of secretary,” Harper responded.

Hankins contended his action could constitute abuse of office and official misconduct, which could be a basis of removal for elected office. He said Harper had deleted comments on the Facebook page and blocked people from posting.

Parker said he was concerned about a lack of control over what was posted on the Facebook page that could be considered a public record. He said he did not personally have a Facebook account.

Harper made a motion to make a copy of the activity on the Facebook page to preserve the public record and then delete the Facebook page. Parker seconded the move. It passed 4-3, with Brett Nabors, Burroughs and Hankins voting against the motion.

Then came a motion to resurrect the GRMC Facebook page and put it in the hands of designated hospital employees.

The page was useful in promoting open positions and events such as health fairs, Dr. Burroughs said.

Harrison said he was in favor of returning the Facebook page to the control of hospital employees according to its social media policies and not let it become a site where people posted “political mumbo-jumbo.”

He said Ashley Woodley, director of public relations and community education, should be designated the page’s administrator. If someone posted anything on the page that was “inflammatory,” she would have the authority to pull it off immediately or filter or approve posts.

“There’s one word for that – censorship,” Hankins said.

The motion passed.

As for the tie vote issue, the state’s election codes provides for several ways to resolve tie votes, such as drawing lots or flipping a coin.

Nabors moved to decide the issue by flipping a coin.

Harrison offered to take a one-year term to preserve the continuity on the board. Hankins said he didn’t know whether that was allowable.

The motion failed by a 4-3 vote, with Brode, Harper, Harrison and Parker voting against.

Harrison then said he would like to see the board get an attorney general ruling on the issue. By law the AG’s office has up to six months to issue opinions.

“I’d be happy to give them a couple of months,” Parker said.

Harrison said he would only want to give the AG’s office a couple of weeks.

Parker made the motion and Harper seconded. The motion passed.

The last items on the agenda had to do with posting board meeting minutes on the GRMC website, which was approved by a unanimous vote, and a motion by Hankins to begin each meeting with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Do you think this might possibly alienate new doctors since some aren’t born in Texas?” Parker asked.

A lot of public meetings begin with a prayer as long as it is non-denominational, Hankins noted. The board could ask different ministers from local churches to offer the prayers, he added.

“I have a question on the prayer,” Harper asked. “Who are we praying to?”

He added that he didn’t think time should be set aside for prayers at public meetings.

The motion passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital board to seek attorney general opinion

 

From Staff Reports

 

The Somervell County Hospital District board last week voted to ask the Texas Attorney General for an opinion about whether two board members who were elected by tie votes – Eugene Brode and Paul Harper – should serve one- or two-year terms.

State law calls for those receiving the highest number of votes on such a board to serve two-year terms and those receiving the smallest to serve one year, but there was confusion and heated debate about the wording of the law.

The board also heard two different scenarios for a 2015 budget – one based on a slight increase in the tax rate and one on a slight decrease.

The budget figures were discussed at a Tuesday special budget workshop meeting and at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

At the budget workshop, Somervell Central District Chief Appraiser Wes Rollen told the board that the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant lost a little over 10 percent of its overall taxable value for 2014. The CAD and Luminant, operator of the plant, agreed on a taxable value of $1.95 billion, down from $2.2 billion a year ago.

The board must publicly post a preliminary property tax rate by Sept. 1 and approve a 2015 budget by Sept. 30, including a 10-day public notice and public hearing.

Michael Honea, Glen Rose Medical Center’s chief financial officer, presented the board with two scenarios of tax rates – one at 11.34 cents per $100 of appraised property value and one at 9 cents requested by some board members. The current tax rate is 10.5 cents.

Under the 11.34-cent rate, the medical center would remove a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for employees and end up with a $600,000 shortfall in funding capital projects such as new equipment, Honea said.

He noted one of the hospital’s top priorities for funding is an anesthesia machine. The medical center’s is so old that it can no longer get parts, he said.

“We’ve got an old piece of equipment we’re hooking people up to in surgery,” Honea added.

Under the 9-cent tax rate scenario, the medical center would have to eliminate seven full-time equivalent employees, enact a 4 percent salary cut across the board, slice its public relations budget in half, eliminate all travel and education expenses within the facility and eliminate health fairs, Honea said.

“The biggest thing is in personnel; that is kind of your quickest and easiest way to get there” to the smaller budget based on a 9-cent tax rate, Honea said. However, he said a 4 percent salary cut would lead to a “mass exodus” because health care employees could find better paying jobs elsewhere.

Because of minimum staffing requirements for medical staff, non-clinical staff would be the first place to cut, Honea said – areas such as the business office, central supply, housekeeping, information technology and marketing.

“Those areas would get hit the hardest because you can’t start cutting too many nurses,” he said. “As an example, our average daily census on the floor is seven patients. You’ve got to have two nurses on the floor at all times to care for those seven patients. That’s a 4 to 1 ratio, so unless we get higher, you can’t really impact that and you can’t cut a body out of there. You’ve got to have it for safety purposes.”

Honea said the budget anticipates revenue increases in two areas – a 2 percent increase for in-patient numbers and a 3.5 percent increase in outpatient care.

Ray Reynolds, GRMC chief executive offer, said that the hospital has averaged 60.1 admissions per month. The 2015 budget projects an average of 62 monthly admissions.

With two new physicians starting practices, GRMC could gain additional revenue after the doctors get their practices up and running, Honea and Reynolds added.

Board chairman Chip Harrison said he noticed $3 million in bad debts in the budget figures.

“Explain to me what bad debt is,” he said.

“Bad debt is people primarily coming in the back door (through the ER) and they don’t pay,” Reynolds responded. “It’s probably the No. 1 problem that health care is dealing with. Bad debt is a huge problem for all of us.”
Reynolds noted that before the ER can even ask people if they have insurance, it has to do a medical screening to determine if they need immediate medical attention.

“So we’ve incurred a cost before we even can collect from the patient,” Reynolds said.

“Patients are smart,” he added. “Patients know that they can come to an emergency room anywhere — ours or anybody else’s — and they will be seen. They may have to wait in line, but they will be seen because hospitals have to see them in the emergency room. Physicians are not obligated to see them at all if it’s not an urgent matter.”

The medical center tries to collect debts in house first, then turns them over to an outside collection agency, Reynolds said.

“Three million dollars is a heck of a lot of money,” he added. If we solved that, we’ve solved our financial issues, absolutely.”

A lot of the bad debt comes from uninsured patients. About 4 percent of the hospital’s in-patients are “self-pay,” Honea noted, but 27 percent of the ER’s patients are self-pay.

“So your patients have figured out the clinic is going to ask them for money, but the ER is going to see them no matter what,” Honea said. “It’s abuse of the system.”

Board member Ronald Hankins said he did not want to see a lower tax rate given the medical center’s financial situation.

“From my standpoint, looking at a tax rate cut at this point with what’s going on is absolutely irresponsible,” he said.

However, Hankins noted that Comanche Peak’s value has fallen mainly due to market factors – the drop in natural gas prices that made nuclear energy less profitable. As those prices goes up, Comanche Peak’s value could rise in the future, he said.

One of the most contentious issues at the regular board meeting had to do with the district’s longtime attorney, Kevin Reed. Several board members want to replace Reed. Harper made a motion to send seven prospective replacements a list of questions.

That prompted a lively exchange between Harper and Hankins, former Somervell County attorney.

Harper said he thought it would be easier to come up with a list of questions to give the attorneys rather than have each of one of them appear before the board.

Reed has represented the hospital for 20 years and is knowledgeable about rural health care issues, Hankins said.

“I don’t understand why you’re so anxious to get rid of him,” he said.

Harper responded that he disagreed with Reed about his opinion on the term of office question. He also questioned the procedures Reed used to deal with a petition to recall the election that created the hospital district and its temporary board.

Reed should have been looking for ways to approve the signatures on the petition instead of looking for ways not to approve them, Harper said.

Harper’s motion died.

Board President John Parker said the board was “anxious for the attorneys to come so we can give them the third degree in person.”

Board member Dr. Karen Burroughs asked that the attorneys under consideration for the job have equivalent experience with legal work for rural hospitals.

Harrison said he just wanted the board to be “good stewards” with taxpayer money and find an attorney that might be less costly.

“Most people don’t want cheap lawyers,” Hankins said.

Another issue on the agenda prompting heated debate had to do with the hospital’s Facebook page. Shortly after the new board was elected in May, Harper – who was elected secretary of the board — took over administration of the page, which previously was under the control of hospital staff.

Hankins wanted to know where Harper got the authority to take over the Facebook page and why he didn’t come to the board for discussion about the move.

“I think that’s incidental to the office of secretary,” Harper responded.

Hankins contended his action could constitute abuse of office and official misconduct, which could be a basis of removal for elected office. He said Harper had deleted comments on the Facebook page and blocked people from posting.

Parker said he was concerned about a lack of control over what was posted on the Facebook page that could be considered a public record. He said he did not personally have a Facebook account.

Harper made a motion to make a copy of the activity on the Facebook page to preserve the public record and then delete the Facebook page. Parker seconded the move. It passed 4-3, with Brett Nabors, Burroughs and Hankins voting against the motion.

Then came a motion to resurrect the GRMC Facebook page and put it in the hands of designated hospital employees.

The page was useful in promoting open positions and events such as health fairs,

Dr. Burroughs said.

Harrison said he was in favor of returning the Facebook page to the control of hospital employees according to its social media policies and not let it become a site where people posted “political mumbo-jumbo.”

He said Ashley Woodley, director of public relations and community education, should be designated the page’s administrator. If someone posted anything on the page that was “inflammatory,” she would have the authority to pull it off immediately or filter or approve posts.

“There’s one word for that – censorship,” Hankins said.

The motion passed.

As for the tie vote issue, the state’s election codes provides for several ways to resolve tie votes, such as drawing lots or flipping a coin.

Nabors moved to decide the issue by flipping a coin.

Harrison offered to take a one-year term to preserve the continuity on the board. Hankins said he didn’t know whether that was allowable.

The motion failed by a 4-3 vote, with Brode, Harper, Harrison and Parker voting against.

Harrison then said he would like to see the board get an attorney general ruling on the issue. By law the AG’s office has up to six months to issue opinions.

“I’d be happy to give them a couple of months,” Parker said.

Harrison said he would only want to give the AG’s office a couple of weeks.

Parker made the motion and Harper seconded. The motion passed.

The last items on the agenda had to do with posting board meeting minutes on the GRMC website, which was approved by a unanimous vote, and a motion by Hankins to begin each meeting with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Do you think this might possibly alienate new doctors since some aren’t born in Texas?” Parker asked.

A lot of public meetings begin with a prayer as long as it is non-denominational, Hankins noted. The board could ask different ministers from local churches to offer the prayers, he added.

“I have a question on the prayer,” Harper asked. “Who are we praying to?”

He added that he didn’t think time should be set aside for prayers at public meetings.

The motion passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital board to seek attorney general opinion

 

From Staff Reports

 

The Somervell County Hospital District board last week voted to ask the Texas Attorney General for an opinion about whether two board members who were elected by tie votes – Eugene Brode and Paul Harper – should serve one- or two-year terms.

State law calls for those receiving the highest number of votes on such a board to serve two-year terms and those receiving the smallest to serve one year, but there was confusion and heated debate about the wording of the law.

The board also heard two different scenarios for a 2015 budget – one based on a slight increase in the tax rate and one on a slight decrease.

The budget figures were discussed at a Tuesday special budget workshop meeting and at the board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

At the budget workshop, Somervell Central District Chief Appraiser Wes Rollen told the board that the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant lost a little over 10 percent of its overall taxable value for 2014. The CAD and Luminant, operator of the plant, agreed on a taxable value of $1.95 billion, down from $2.2 billion a year ago.

The board must publicly post a preliminary property tax rate by Sept. 1 and approve a 2015 budget by Sept. 30, including a 10-day public notice and public hearing.

Michael Honea, Glen Rose Medical Center’s chief financial officer, presented the board with two scenarios of tax rates – one at 11.34 cents per $100 of appraised property value and one at 9 cents requested by some board members. The current tax rate is 10.5 cents.

Under the 11.34-cent rate, the medical center would remove a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for employees and end up with a $600,000 shortfall in funding capital projects such as new equipment, Honea said.

He noted one of the hospital’s top priorities for funding is an anesthesia machine. The medical center’s is so old that it can no longer get parts, he said.

“We’ve got an old piece of equipment we’re hooking people up to in surgery,” Honea added.

Under the 9-cent tax rate scenario, the medical center would have to eliminate seven full-time equivalent employees, enact a 4 percent salary cut across the board, slice its public relations budget in half, eliminate all travel and education expenses within the facility and eliminate health fairs, Honea said.

“The biggest thing is in personnel; that is kind of your quickest and easiest way to get there” to the smaller budget based on a 9-cent tax rate, Honea said. However, he said a 4 percent salary cut would lead to a “mass exodus” because health care employees could find better paying jobs elsewhere.

Because of minimum staffing requirements for medical staff, non-clinical staff would be the first place to cut, Honea said – areas such as the business office, central supply, housekeeping, information technology and marketing.

“Those areas would get hit the hardest because you can’t start cutting too many nurses,” he said. “As an example, our average daily census on the floor is seven patients. You’ve got to have two nurses on the floor at all times to care for those seven patients. That’s a 4 to 1 ratio, so unless we get higher, you can’t really impact that and you can’t cut a body out of there. You’ve got to have it for safety purposes.”

Honea said the budget anticipates revenue increases in two areas – a 2 percent increase for in-patient numbers and a 3.5 percent increase in outpatient care.

Ray Reynolds, GRMC chief executive offer, said that the hospital has averaged 60.1 admissions per month. The 2015 budget projects an average of 62 monthly admissions.

With two new physicians starting practices, GRMC could gain additional revenue after the doctors get their practices up and running, Honea and Reynolds added.

Board chairman Chip Harrison said he noticed $3 million in bad debts in the budget figures.

“Explain to me what bad debt is,” he said.

“Bad debt is people primarily coming in the back door (through the ER) and they don’t pay,” Reynolds responded. “It’s probably the No. 1 problem that health care is dealing with. Bad debt is a huge problem for all of us.”
Reynolds noted that before the ER can even ask people if they have insurance, it has to do a medical screening to determine if they need immediate medical attention.

“So we’ve incurred a cost before we even can collect from the patient,” Reynolds said.

“Patients are smart,” he added. “Patients know that they can come to an emergency room anywhere — ours or anybody else’s — and they will be seen. They may have to wait in line, but they will be seen because hospitals have to see them in the emergency room. Physicians are not obligated to see them at all if it’s not an urgent matter.”

The medical center tries to collect debts in house first, then turns them over to an outside collection agency, Reynolds said.

“Three million dollars is a heck of a lot of money,” he added. If we solved that, we’ve solved our financial issues, absolutely.”

A lot of the bad debt comes from uninsured patients. About 4 percent of the hospital’s in-patients are “self-pay,” Honea noted, but 27 percent of the ER’s patients are self-pay.

“So your patients have figured out the clinic is going to ask them for money, but the ER is going to see them no matter what,” Honea said. “It’s abuse of the system.”

Board member Ronald Hankins said he did not want to see a lower tax rate given the medical center’s financial situation.

“From my standpoint, looking at a tax rate cut at this point with what’s going on is absolutely irresponsible,” he said.

However, Hankins noted that Comanche Peak’s value has fallen mainly due to market factors – the drop in natural gas prices that made nuclear energy less profitable. As those prices goes up, Comanche Peak’s value could rise in the future, he said.

One of the most contentious issues at the regular board meeting had to do with the district’s longtime attorney, Kevin Reed. Several board members want to replace Reed. Harper made a motion to send seven prospective replacements a list of questions.

That prompted a lively exchange between Harper and Hankins, former Somervell County attorney.

Harper said he thought it would be easier to come up with a list of questions to give the attorneys rather than have each of one of them appear before the board.

Reed has represented the hospital for 20 years and is knowledgeable about rural health care issues, Hankins said.

“I don’t understand why you’re so anxious to get rid of him,” he said.

Harper responded that he disagreed with Reed about his opinion on the term of office question. He also questioned the procedures Reed used to deal with a petition to recall the election that created the hospital district and its temporary board.

Reed should have been looking for ways to approve the signatures on the petition instead of looking for ways not to approve them, Harper said.

Harper’s motion died.

Board President John Parker said the board was “anxious for the attorneys to come so we can give them the third degree in person.”

Board member Dr. Karen Burroughs asked that the attorneys under consideration for the job have equivalent experience with legal work for rural hospitals.

Harrison said he just wanted the board to be “good stewards” with taxpayer money and find an attorney that might be less costly.

“Most people don’t want cheap lawyers,” Hankins said.

Another issue on the agenda prompting heated debate had to do with the hospital’s Facebook page. Shortly after the new board was elected in May, Harper – who was elected secretary of the board — took over administration of the page, which previously was under the control of hospital staff.

Hankins wanted to know where Harper got the authority to take over the Facebook page and why he didn’t come to the board for discussion about the move.

“I think that’s incidental to the office of secretary,” Harper responded.

Hankins contended his action could constitute abuse of office and official misconduct, which could be a basis of removal for elected office. He said Harper had deleted comments on the Facebook page and blocked people from posting.

Parker said he was concerned about a lack of control over what was posted on the Facebook page that could be considered a public record. He said he did not personally have a Facebook account.

Harper made a motion to make a copy of the activity on the Facebook page to preserve the public record and then delete the Facebook page. Parker seconded the move. It passed 4-3, with Brett Nabors, Burroughs and Hankins voting against the motion.

Then came a motion to resurrect the GRMC Facebook page and put it in the hands of designated hospital employees.

The page was useful in promoting open positions and events such as health fairs,

Dr. Burroughs said.

Harrison said he was in favor of returning the Facebook page to the control of hospital employees according to its social media policies and not let it become a site where people posted “political mumbo-jumbo.”

He said Ashley Woodley, director of public relations and community education, should be designated the page’s administrator. If someone posted anything on the page that was “inflammatory,” she would have the authority to pull it off immediately or filter or approve posts.

“There’s one word for that – censorship,” Hankins said.

The motion passed.

As for the tie vote issue, the state’s election codes provides for several ways to resolve tie votes, such as drawing lots or flipping a coin.

Nabors moved to decide the issue by flipping a coin.

Harrison offered to take a one-year term to preserve the continuity on the board. Hankins said he didn’t know whether that was allowable.

The motion failed by a 4-3 vote, with Brode, Harper, Harrison and Parker voting against.

Harrison then said he would like to see the board get an attorney general ruling on the issue. By law the AG’s office has up to six months to issue opinions.

“I’d be happy to give them a couple of months,” Parker said.

Harrison said he would only want to give the AG’s office a couple of weeks.

Parker made the motion and Harper seconded. The motion passed.

The last items on the agenda had to do with posting board meeting minutes on the GRMC website, which was approved by a unanimous vote, and a motion by Hankins to begin each meeting with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Do you think this might possibly alienate new doctors since some aren’t born in Texas?” Parker asked.

A lot of public meetings begin with a prayer as long as it is non-denominational, Hankins noted. The board could ask different ministers from local churches to offer the prayers, he added.

“I have a question on the prayer,” Harper asked. “Who are we praying to?”

He added that he didn’t think time should be set aside for prayers at public meetings.

The motion passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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