City, hospital meet to address transfers

By James Stewart In response to a recent announcement by Guardian EMS to discontinue providing transfer service from the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital, city and hospital officials met Tuesday and continued in their efforts to find a viable long-term solution for the community. Brady City Manager Merle Taylor, EMS Director Gloria Slone and Mayor James Stewart met with Tim Jones, hospital administrator and Clay Jones, president of the board of directors of the local hospital to explore options that will address the current transfer situation. In exploring ways in which the hospital could participate or contribute to the operations of the Brady EMS service, the group discussed a possible short-term management contract that would involve using the hospital’s billing service to possibly realize higher rates of return with more efficiency. The contract could also involve the hospital taking control of the staffing and scheduling of the Brady EMS service. According to Tim Jones, the hospital is petitioning Guardian to extend their serivce for an additional 30 days to allow for all possible legal issues with the Texas Department of Health and the hospital’s attorneys be ironed out. In the meantime, the hospital and city renewed their joint effort and commitment to ensure emergency transfer requests could be met. The result of the discussion between the city and hospital was that they would jointly pursue a 90- day trial period in which billing would be run through the hospital’s billing service. Details are still being ironed out, but it was agreed that the current billing clerk would be provided additional assistance by a hospital staff member. “Our goal has always been to see how we can become more efficient and how we can improve our receivables,” said Taylor. The temporary agreement will only go into effect if all channels are cleared for both the hospital and city. If deemed beneficial after the 90-day trial, further efficiencies will be explored in pursuing a longer-term management contract of the staffing, billing and operation of the local EMS service.

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