Friday, May 24, 2024
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CRMC Wants To Continue Reinvestment In Community

Council member Eric Walker said Cookeville Regional continues to grow, but the payment to the city remains the same.

During a first in-depth work session on the CRMC budget Tuesday, Walker said he did not want to see the hospital go private, but he did believe there was room for the medical center to do more for Cookeville.

Cookeville Regional pays the city $700,000 in a payment in lieu of taxes. CEO Paul Korth said the medical center takes the money it makes and reinvests it into the community through expanded services and facilities.

“What we have to do is we have to try and balance the difference,” Korth said. “What does the community need, what services are we going to offer at this facility, and what does our strategic budget say, our commission say, what does our strategic plan say, when we go out and try to fulfill that.”

Board of Trustees Member Dr. Ernest Buchanan said that reinvestment has worked, changing the habits of the 1980s and before when local residents with serious health issues went straight to Nashville for care.

“If I had a heart attack right now, I know my care would be just as good here as it is at Vanderbilt,” Buchanan said.

Korth said the medical center had assisted the city with some funding on projects around the medical center such as the renovation of 7th Street. CRMC also pays for all the upkeep on the facility.

Walker said the city could use extra money in its budget, portraying an entity that struggles to come up with $1 million when needed for projects it wants to do.

Korth said the medical center board of trustees funds just a handful of the projects needed. Korth said this year, his office received some $25 million in requests, but funded just $12 million.

Council member Mark Miller asked that K-9 teams budgeted in the new fiscal year be removed before approval. Miller said they pose too much of a risk to medical center patients.

“I want to see that removed from the budget,” Miller said.

“That’s up to the board,” Korth said, saying the Board of Trustees will consider at a meeting prior to the final budget being submitted to the city.

The City Council does not have oversight of the hospital’s operations. The Board of Trustees, appointed by the City Council, has that duty. Several council members have complained that they did not elect all of the current trustees.