WATER VALLEY – A new $2 million medical clinic on the drawing board by Yalobusha General Hospital officials could provide the use of a current clinic as a health department building in Water Valley.
The hospital-owned clinics in Water Valley would be consolidated in the new building, according to Yalobusha Hospital Administrator Terry Varner, leaving the hospital with two vacated buildings, Dr. Paul Odom’s Rural Health Clinic and Dr. Walker’s Family Practice Clinic, when the project is completed next.
In an earlier meeting, supervisors expressed an interest in converting one of the buildings for use as the county’s health department.
Obtaining a new facility for the county’s health department has been pinpointed by supervisors as a critical need for the county after the department’s District Medical Director, Dr. Alfio Rausa, repeatedly stressed the current office is crowded and antiquated.
“We went ahead and had the appraisals done at both clinics,” Hospital Administrator Terry Varner told supervisors at the “first Monday” meeting held July 7 in Coffeeville. Dr. Odom’s clinic appraised for $275,00 and Dr. Walker’s at $296,000, Varner told county officials.
“We met last week, we being my board and I, and we proposed selling Dr. Odom’s clinic to the county,” Varner said, adding that it would be somewhere around this time next year before the new clinic would be up and going.
“Y’all would not consider selling us Dr. Walker’s building?” District One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn asked.
“We would prefer not to, just because my goal is to turn that into a daycare for our staff. We can charge just a break-even price,” Varner said about provided daycare services.
“We have a lot of nurses with young children, what we are wanting to do is provide daycare they can afford. That building is structured just a little better for that use,” Varner said.
“Will that Odom building do for what we need?” District Five Supervisor Bubba Tillman asked.
“It’ll do,” District Five Supervisor Tommy Vaughn answered, but added that Dr. Walker’s building is probably another 1,500 square feet bigger which would allow room for future growth. Vaughn also said it would take around $35,000 to convert Dr. Odom’s building for health department use.
“I am not saying it is a definite no,” Varner said, adding his board would revisit the issue.
“Dr. Odom’s building would met our needs now,” Vaughn said, but added that 20 years later it may not be big enough.
“We would like to have it out for bid by middle of this month,” Varner said, when asked about a potential start date for the new 13,000 square foot doctor’s complex. Varner also said his board has agreed to avoid a bond issuance cost and have a direct line of credit with Renasant Bank.
“They came in with a really favorable interest rate,” Varner explained.
Varner had previously received the go ahead from supervisors to borrow up to 10 percent of the hospital’s gross revenue for the year, obtaining financing in the form of a revenue bond.
Varner told supervisors that after hospital officials crunched numbers, and looked at the pros and cons, obtaining bank financing was going to be the best option.
Hospital Status Report
“We have been busier this summer that it has in my previous seven summers there,” Varner said about the current status of the hospital.
“I have several people ask, what affect this new tax that is proposed from the Governor would have on our small county hospital?” Vaughn told Varner.
“We actually come out ahead,” Varner answered. “Medicaid is a strange program and it is hard to describe everything, because what looks bad on one end may give you more reimbursement on other,” Varner said.
“Bottom line, we would come out about $130,000 ahead by passing the bed tax because Medicaid would be fully funded which opens up this other area called upper payment limit. By fully funding that we are eligible for additional funds that more than cover the bed tax,” Varner explained.
“A lot of people are concerned about how this affects our hospital,” Vaughn reiterated.
“We would rather not have to pay it, but someone has to pay the tax. The House (Mississippi House of Representatives) wants the tobacco tax, and the Senate and Governor want the bed tax. The hospitals (state hospital association) have agreed we would pay the tax. That is where we are, it not going to have a negative outcome at all,” Varner concluded.