At Tuesday morning’s county commission meeting, Weems CEO Mike Cooper reviewed personnel changes at the hospital, including the recent departure of Dr. Emma Stoll.
Stoll, who began in January, left her post two weeks ago as attending physician over the two Weems clinics, in Carrabelle and Apalachicola, to pursue another job opportunity, In the interim, the medical clinics are being overseen by Weems Emergency Department Director Dr. Patrick Conrad.
Cooper introduced interim Emergency Medical Services Director Michael Murphy at the meeting, who replaced Jarrod Wester at the helm. Murphy is in line to be named permanent EMS director.
Cooper told commissioners that in order to achieve status as a Rural Health Clinic, a federal designation intended to increase access to primary care services for Medicaid and Medicare patients in rural underserved areas, it must remain as a primary care provider.
He said revising the designation as an urgent care provide could jeopardize up to $120,000 in annual funding.
Commissioners asked if one wing could be designated as urgent care and the other primary care but Cooper said the facilities cannot share the same address.
“We need the rural healthcare designation but I don’t want anybody turned away,” Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said. “I’m trying to make sure people are taken care of.”
Cooper said he believed Stoll may have contributed to the problem of patients not being seen, Sanders disagreed, saying that patients were turned away before Stoll was employed and have been turned away since her departure.
Commissioners then inquired, whether going in detail, whether Cooper had addressed a complaint about Weems.
He said the head of housekeeping for the East clinic had resigned, and an assistant had become ill, which had led to problems. He said the hospital had calls in to a candidate for the position, but had originally been trying to make contact using the wrong telephone number.
Sanders said the facility was in need of maintenance inside and out. Cooper said Plant Operations Director Craig Gibson was addressing the issues.
Commissioner William Massey told Cooper he wanted to meet with him privately before the Jan. 3 commission meeting. Cooper said he thought they could meet after Christmas.
Cooper told commissioners he had presented them with the salary analysis for Weems employees they requested at the Nov. 2 meeting.
Commissioner Ricky Jones said he was not satisfied with the fact that not all hospital employees, specifically emergency medical technicians with the ambulance service, were making at least $10 per hour. He asked if Cooper could alter that before the next meeting.
Chairman Smokey Parrish asked if Cooper could provide the changed document next week. Cooper said he didn’t know if it was possible due to the Christmas holidays.
Parrish said he didn’t wish to take any action on the wage analysis because Commissioner Noah Lockley was not present. Commissioners voted unanimously to table further discussion of the report.
Cooper said that a conceptual agreement had been reached between Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Alliant Medical Services, a proposed risk management partner for Weems. He said a written document was being crafted and that it was possible it could be presented to the county commissioners as early as Jan. 17.