Hospital officials address concerns

With some new faces and restructuring taking place at Callaway Community Hospital, hospital officials have addressed concerns about the future of the hospital.

Incoming Chief Executive Officer Mark Caton said a methodical restructuring of hospital staff is a way to make sure the hospital “stays fresh.”

“It’s very normal,” he said.

The hospital plans to release a list in the near future of staff changes for 2011.

Caton also said he has heard concerns stated about certain aspects of the hospital and hopes to address them with open discussions with the community and hospital staff. However, he said there are two concerns he’s heard that simply aren’t accurate. One is that CCH is for sale. The other is that SunLink Health Systems filed for bankruptcy.

SunLink owns CCH, as well as six other hospitals.

“The company did definitely not file for bankruptcy,” said Ron Turner, chief operating officer at SunLink.

Turner said rumors about CCH being for sale and SunLink filing for bankruptcy came from the fact that some offers to buy CCH were brought to SunLink.

“SunLink Health Systems is a publicly-traded company,” he said. “Anytime there is an offer submitted for stock of a company or assets of a company, legally the board has to consider the offer.”

Turner said Caton was correct about SunLink actively restructuring its corporate debt. One way the company is looking to refinance the debt is through loan guarantees.

“We are working with the United States Department of Agriculture for guarantees of the financing, the loans, and I think another attestation to the importance of the hospital is a willingness of the federal government to say that we want to protect, preserve and grow jobs in rural America,” Turner said.

He said hospitals in rural communities are a major employer of the communities they serve; the USDA realizes this and that’s why it is willing to offer loan guarantees.

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