Hospital CEO answers questions about ownership

Published 12:42 pm Friday, October 9, 2020

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Many Crenshaw County residents have sought more information about how the management and ownership of Crenshaw Community Hospital is set up after it was announced last week the Crenshaw County Health Care Authority was seeking a 3 mill property tax to help fund the hospital.

Crenshaw Community Hospital is owned by the Crenshaw County Health Care Authority, a group composed of Crenshaw County residents.

The Authority took over management of CCH after the former management company,  PRM (Professional Resource Management), informed the Authority it would no longer be managing the hospital. From September of 2019 to April of 2020, the Crenshaw County Health Care Authority played the role of both owner and manager of the hospital.

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In April of 2020, The Health Care Authority contracted with Alliant, a rural hospital management firm, to manage the hospital. Alliant provides CCH with the necessities that larger hospitals already have access to, including clinical, operational, financial, supply chain, and strategic skills that ultimately benefit the hospital. Payments for services from patients, insurance companies and other entities go directly to the Health Care Authority. These funds are used to pay staff, pay for supplies and other expenses related to patient care and services. Under the Health Care Authority ownership, the hospital became a non-profit entity.

“Since the hospital is community-owned, CCH and the Crenshaw County Healthcare Authority are responsible for providing the funds to keep the hospital operational,” said CEO David Hughes. “Although CCH is a small, rural hospital, they still pay the same rates as the larger hospitals for equipment. Therefore, it is difficult to keep the hospital up-to-date with top-of-the-line equipment. Without yearly upgrades and improvements, CCH cannot service the variety of needs that other larger hospitals can.”

The proposed property tax will help the hospital stay up-to-date, and will aid in the cost of improvements that CCH will need to continue to meet health codes, Hughes said.

Several residents have sought clarification about COVID-19 money and why the Health Care Authority still needs funding in addition to the money received. “

“Any funds given to the hospital as a result of COVID-19 has to be strictly used for expenses surrounding COVID-19. None of the funds can be used for infrastructure or improvements in any other part of the hospital,” Hughes said.

Crenshaw Community Hospital provides a variety of health care services for Crenshaw County. With 49 beds, 1,323 inpatient days and over 6,000 emergency room visits a year, the hospital is crucial for the wellbeing of Crenshaw County residents. Primary care is provided by Dr. Charles Tompkins, Dr. Pat Walker and the Family Care Clinic. CCH also offers orthopedic services, provided by Dr. Prithviraj “Raj” Chavan, an orthopedic surgeon with more than 20 years of diverse experience. Dr. Chavan works closely the Physical Therapy team to offer a variety of services. The Physical Therapy and Mental Health Units at CCH provide relief for a range of physical and mental concerns. Urology services are provided by Dr. Alfred Newman. Dr. Newman holds clinic at the hospital the second Wednesday of the month, and performs necessary procedures at CCH, for Crenshaw County residents. The hospital also offers home health services as an alternative to extended hospital stays, often allowing a speedier and more complete recovery in the comfort of your home.  Finally, Crenshaw Community Hospital can perform routine tests as well as CT Scans, Ultrasounds and X-Rays through their radiology and lab units.  Along with the many services provided by the hospital staff.

If the proposed property tax is not passed, it could mean the closure of Crenshaw Community Hospital, Hughes said.

“Crenshaw Community Hospital is asking voters to show their support by voting yes to the 3 Mil tax that will support the hospital,” he said. “ The box for the property tax will be listed last on the back of the November 3 general election ballot.”