In Oct. 16-22 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Jeff Buckley told the members of the Russell County Fiscal Court he believed there would be no interruption in coverage of Anthem patients, because the insurer and the hospital were in the final stages of negotiation for a new contract.
The hospital had put the giant insurance company on notice that they would be terminating their working relationship if Anthem wasn't willing to pay the hospital more for the procedures done for patients at this hospital.
Anthem, which is the Blue-Cross / Blue-Shield provider in Kentucky, had indicated a solid unwillingness to negotiate anything more favorable for the hospital, even after the notice of termination.
Mid October was the deadline according to Anthem, but Buckley said, "We had a breakthrough last week."
"At this point in time it looks pretty good," he said.
Buckley is with the Alliant Management Company, which manages operations of the hospital. He said he expects a new contract very soon.
He also told the Russell County Fiscal Court that Russell County Hospital made about $250,000 in the first two months of this fiscal year.
On questioning from the members of the court he agreed that the hospital has just over $3 million in debt and has leases for new equipment totaling close to $2.8 million.
But, Buckley said that for a hospital its size this was not an unusually high debt load.
In addition to the new equipment Buckley stressed that since they returned to the helm at the hospital employees have received pay raises bringing their salaries more in line with other local hospitals.
He said that before they came back to work with the hospital in 2005, "this facility could easily have closed."
The court was told that the hospital has gone from losses of over a million a year in operations to a position where they expect to show a good profit this year.
In other action before by the court-
• A road leading to the subdivision being developed by local attorney Don Byrom is to be widened. Byrom told the court that there was not enough room for two cars to safely meet on the road. Magistrate Greg Popplewell told the court that the shoulder could be built up with gravel and the ditch lines cleaned and stabilized in order to widen the road without undue expense.
• Approval was given to process the agreements necessary to complete the block grant program approved for the expansion at the BRUSS North America plant.
• The court agreed to donate $1,000 to the fund to finish work on the Doughboy monument in Jamestown.
• Expenditure or $1,394 was approved for new tile in the County Judge's Office.
• To close in the holding pens for stray dogs in the county $1,800 was approved for the purchase of metal siding. There had reportedly been complaints about the structure and its torn tarpaulin siding.
• The county will be purchasing recyclables from Casey County for $600 which the county judge told the court they will be able to sell to a Lexington firm for $1,200 to $1,800 per load.
• A request for nearly $3,000 to improve the Rowena landing on the south shore of Lake Cumberland was turned down. Magistrates pointed out that the only one served by that ramp was a businessman in Clinton County and that $49,000 in state grant money had been spent on that ramp just last year.
• A prospective agreement was reached with Casey County to send refuse to them for incineration if a new generating plant is built there. The plant would burn trash to generate electricity. The cost would be lower than a landfill and there would be a rebate to the county based on the profit of the plant, in the proposal.