NASHVILLE – The search for a new doctor at Howard Memorial Hospital will continue after a promising prospect decided not to sign an employment agreement with the facility.
Hospital CEO Debra Wright told board members about the developments Tuesday night during the group’s monthly meeting, saying she was “very disappointed in the decision,” but would continue efforts with Merritt Hawkins and Associates to locate another physician to fill the role.
The prospective employee, Dr. Joshua Williams, had signed a nonbinding employment offering letter, but declined to sign the agreement which would have made his commitment to the hospital official due to what he described as unexpected resistance to the idea from his family.
“I recently sat down with my family to discuss my plans to accept your offer in Nashville, and our talk did not go at all as I had anticipated it would. My parents, who are getting older, have asked that I stay closer to home,” Williams wrote in an e-mail to Wright dated April 14. “Please forgive me for delaying your search in finding the right physician to fill the position with your hospital. I am sincere when I say that I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of hospitality demonstrated by yourself, your husband and everyone that I met at the hospital. I have no doubt that HMH would have been a wonderful fit for me, and I can’t thank you enough for your time.”
Had he elected to sign the employment agreement, Williams would have begun his tenure at the facility in 2017.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Wright concluded her recruitment report by saying she planned to meet with a Newhope native “who is interested in a rural practice” in early May. She said the prospective physician will begin family medicine residency in Texarkana this fall and complete the training in June of 2018, marking the earliest point at which he might be able to see patients at the facility.
In unrelated business during the meeting, CFO Bill Craig reported that the hospital generated $63,102 in the last month despite a budgeted loss of $56,787. Craig said both outpatient and emergency visits were above budget for the month, and the hospital enjoyed its highest inpatient census since June of 2014 as well as its highest number of adjusted patient days since March 2011.
Despite these positive indicators, Craig said the hospital is still slightly below budget for the year on inpatient days, average daily census and collectible revenue per adjusted patient day as well in its joint venture with LHC Home Health, which is $15,144 below budget on the year.
A final matter of note involved selecting a replacement for Tim Pinkerton, who plans to vacate his seat at the end of his current term. Pinkerton announced that the board’s nominating committee had selected UA Cossatot Coordinator of Information and Community Relations Julie Rhodes to fill the seat. Rhodes’ nomination now goes before the Howard County Quorum Court, who have final approval on the addition of board members.