As always, the financial situation of Weems Memorial Hospital was of top interest throughout the year, although 2012 was more tumultuous than usual.
The year began with an interim CEO as the hospital sought to keep its footing as it coped with unpaid bills, and rising health care costs.
By the time county budget time came around, the hospital was seeking about $1.46 million in county help for its hospital, clinic and ambulance operations, about half from sales tax proceeds and the remainder from property tax receipts.
In terms of both the main Apalachicola facility as well as the Weems East urgent care clinic in Carrabelle, hospital operations were projected to be about $957,000 in the red for the next fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Of Weems’ $957,000 shortfall, about $161,248 was due to losses at Weems East, which was losing about $15,000 per month, or about $180,000 annually.
By year’s end, though, the hospital had brought in Dr. Gene Charbonneau and two advanced registered nurse practitioners, Dana Whaley and Susan Hardin, and added additional hours to improve the financial picture.
The biggest news at Weems was hiring of a seasoned hospital executive from Iowa to take over the reins, opting for Ray Brownsworth, 58, of Sigourney, Iowa. He succeeds interim CEO Cindy Drapal, Weems’ chief nursing officer.
In addition to developments at Weems, the health department established a dental clinic in Carrabelle, a major outreach funded through a combination of government and private sector funds.