Karlie Belle PriceFor the Coal Valley News
September 13, 2012
MADISON — As of July 1, 2012 Boone Memorial Hospital became a community operated 501-c-3 entity. The hospital administration and board had to jump through a few hoops to make the transfer possible – the biggest hurdle being that specific legislation had to be passed before the County Commission could transfer titles. House Bill 2696 would authorize the County Commission of Boone County to transfer its title and interest in Boone Memorial Hospital.
“We can’t thank Delegate Larry Barker and Senator Ron Stollings enough for their help. Without their dedication and hours of service the transfer would not have been possible,” said Tommy Mullins, BMH Administrator.
Barker explained that a reversion clause was added to the bill.
“The bill was passed to help BMH get a new hospital but if it fails or goes bankrupt then it would go back to the people/taxpayers.”
The County Commission, along with Mullins, Barker and Stollings met late in 2010 and had the bill drafted before session even began in January 2011.
“I got an attorney to review the bill and look at it in length before going into session. I wanted to have it ready as soon as possible. My fear was that other counties may have wanted to do the same thing so I suggested it was introduced as a local bill – one that would not affect any other counties, except Boone. It was something our County Commission wanted and I felt was vital to the future of healthcare in Boone County,” explained Barker.
On January 21st the bill was ready and Barker filed it for introduction. At the same time, Senator Stollings was passing a similar bill on the Senate side.
“All bills must pass through both the House and Senate. It also goes through two different committees before going to the floor. The Speaker of the House places all bills in committees,” explained Barker. “Stollings was instrumental in the process and the Speaker of the House placed the bill in Political Subdivisions. I personally begged Tim Manchin, Chairman of Political Subdivisions to put it on the first agenda and he did. We were very pleased,” added Barker.
Barker attended the meeting, along with support from County Commission Attorney, Sam Hall and Boone Memorial Hospital Attorney, Robert L. Coffield of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso. The Attorneys made the transfer legal and helped support the legislative process.
“It passed and was sent to the Finance Committee,” said Barker. “I went directly to the Finance Chair and explained that there was no cost to the community and no money was involved. We got it to the floor and it was passed on the 2nd day of February and passed on the Senate side on February 15th, 2011. Dr. Stollings helped it go through on the Senate side without any amendments and Governor Tomblin signed it shortly thereafter. I, and all parties involved, was very happy.”
“Barker was the sole sponsor of the bill and he got it passed in record time,” said Mullins.
He made it his top priority and BMH and the people of Boone County will really benefit from his actions. We can now move one step closer to getting a new hospital – one that will provide the same quality healthcare but in a new, modernized facility,” concluded Mullins.