Commissioners chide hospital for spending


Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NASHVILLE — Nash UNC Health Care officials are being called on the carpet by the Nash County Board of Commissioners for building exorbitant facilities while hemorrhaging millions of dollars.

The hospital hasn't done well in three years and it doesn't look good ahead, board Chairman Robbie Davis said.

The hospital was operating at a loss going into the first quarter of the year, down $10 million in a nine-month period. At the same time, the hospital is in the midst of building a new cancer center, planning renovations to its cafeteria and lobby and constructing a patio. In recent years, the hospital has added a new emergency department, heart center and women's center.

The hospital should hold off on large incidental undertakings until it begins to make money, Davis said.

“They should consider tabling non-essential capital projects until profitable on the operational side,” Davis said. “We as a board wouldn't be doing non-essential projects if we didn't have the revenue.”

Commissioner Lisa Barnes — who sits on the hospital board and that board's facilities and planning committee — said she recently voiced her apprehension about the matter to fellow members.

“I expressed the same concerns about nonessential projects last week,” Barnes said, adding that she was apparently in the minority on the subject among hospital board members.

Davis said he'd like to have hospital representatives present at the county's January workshop meeting to discuss the issue.

Barnes said the hospital should have a new top executive by then since the hospital board will soon interview the two finalists for the position.

Outgoing CEO Larry Chewning was asked by the hospital board to step down July 6 and allowed to make a retirement announcement July 11.