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Hospital makes offer for new CEO

County’s bills for ambulance service referred to state

Staff writer

St. Luke Hospital could have a new chief executive in early August if Alex Haines signs a contract the hospital board voted Tuesday to extend.

Haines, a Marion resident, is chief operations officer at Newton Medical Center. He is married to nurse practitioner Alysha Haines, who practices at St. Luke Clinic and the hospital.

On the same day board members voted to hire Haines, they learned that the county has sent a lengthy dispute with the hospital over $3,745 in emergency medical services bills to a state program for collection. A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 18.

A month ago, Jeremy Ensey, who later resigned as hospital CEO, told hospital board members that some county bills had been “removed.” EMS director Curt Hasart disagreed.

The bills are for assistance in the hospital’s emergency room between Aug. 11 and Dec. 17 and to take a St. Luke patient to and from Hillsboro Community Hospital on Oct. 16.

“To date, St Luke has not paid any portion of the outstanding bill,” Hasart said Tuesday. “We have not written any amount or bill off.”

For months, the hospital’s attorney, commissioners and county counsel Brad Jantz have discussed the unpaid bill.

Commission discussions often have been behind closed doors.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he hoped a new hospital board and new CEO would bring change.

In December, the county imposed a policy that local hospitals would pay $700 for assistance from ambulance attendants and $100 for each hour an ambulance stays past a two-hour limit.

Hospital officials said early on that they did not accept the policy and that a formal agreement had to be drawn up.

In other business Tuesday, board members learned that physician’s assistant Nita Bittle, who formerly worked for the hospital, would begin seeing patients at St. Luke Clinic again Aug. 28.

Physician Danielle Corbet will work in the emergency room starting in August, and nurse practitioner Michael Katunzi will work as needed.

Board members were told a dispute between the hospital and Lanning Pharmacy over a federal drug program still was being discussed by lawyers.

Gene Lanning said Tuesday that the pharmacy was considering other options.

Last modified July 27, 2023

 

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