Source: The News-Enterprise
At 11:44 a.m. Tuesday, the Hardin Memorial Health Board of Trustees adjourned for the final time.
The nine-member board, comprised of Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry and magistrates, has provided leadership and direction for Baptist Health Hardin since it was founded 66 years ago.
In May 2018, the board approved an asset purchase agreement with Baptist Health. Baptist Health will acquire Hardin Memorial Health on Sept. 1. At that point, the health system will be managed by a newly established advisory board.
Prior to dismissing, each member was given an opportunity to say a few words. All of them said they’ve been blessed to have been part of the board and the growth at Baptist Health Hardin and look forward to the health system’s continued growth with Baptist Health.
“I wasn’t even on the board when it was voted, but I am glad it’s that way,” District 7 Magistrate Ronnie Goodman said. “I think it’ll be the best thing for the future. I may not see it, but a lot of people will and that’s what you’ve got to think about, other people.”
Garry King, District 8 magistrate, said the entire region has prospered from Baptist Health Hardin’s continued growth.
“We have made some important decisions to keep Baptist Health Hardin strong and we have come a long way. I know selling to Baptist Health is the best option to ensure we can keep giving Central Kentucky citizens the care they deserve,” he said.
District 1 Magistrate Roy Easter said he has “no doubt” in his mind or heart Baptist Health will do a good job.
Baptist Health Hardin President and CEO Dennis Johnson praised the board’s leadership over the years.
“Your strong leadership led to Baptist Health Hardin’s tremendous growth over the last 10 years,” Johnson said. “I want to emphasize and make clear that this board never let politics guide their decisions. These men and women made decisions based on the best interests of patients – not only patients from Hardin County, but also those who live in the other nine counties in the Baptist Health Hardin service area.”
Johnson also commended the board’s willingness to take risks and explore the possibility of merging with a larger health care system, even when it meant many would give up board leadership.
“We as Hardin County leaders had the unique opportunity to influence and grow our county-owned hospital and to celebrate countless successes over the last 66 years,” said Berry, who also served as the Baptist Health Hardin Board Chairman. “Baptist Health Hardin’s success comes because of its people and its culture. That is what makes Baptist Health Hardin so special. When the name changes, Baptist Health Hardin will still have these special people and this special culture.”
In other business, Hardin Memorial Health Interim Chief Financial Officer Pam Gallagher shared the financial report for the 2019–20 fiscal year ending Aug. 31, reported through July 31. The 13-month report showed revenue of $11.4 million resulting largely from a $26 million infusion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act.
Gallagher noted the federal money was essential to help the health system weather sharply declining revenues and dramatically increased expenses due to the pandemic.
“There were many bleak financial times at COVID-19’s beginning, but Dennis Johnson and Baptist Health Hardin employees stepped up and made quick changes that allowed the system to fare far better than most,” Gallagher said. “Baptist Health Hardin reports strong financial performance today because of the tenacity of Baptist Health Hardin leaders. Employees took pay cuts, reduced their hours or furloughed completely. Because of these sacrifices, we are able to continue to care for Central Kentucky patients when other hospitals are shutting their doors.”
Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.