Allegiance pays $75,000 to catch up on ES Hospital rent

Friday, January 25, 2019

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

Allegiance Health Management is now up to date on rent payments for Eureka Springs Hospital.

On Monday, Jan. 21, the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission reported Allegiance has made all outstanding rent payments. Treasurer Barbara Dicks said Allegiance paid $75,000 to catch up on late payments.

“They have caught up as of Jan. 1,” Dicks said. “I did send an email stating I would like the money on or before the first of every month, as written in the lease.”

Chairman John House said it’s important for the commissioners to understand what’s written in the lease agreement with Allegiance.

“It has become clear as a commission we are going to be more vigilant in enforcing the terms of the lease,” House said. “There have been a number of issues that came up … it has made me personally very skeptical of the corporate entity, so I think all of us are being more vigilant.”

Attorney Megan Hargraves, who attended the meeting via video call, said she sent a letter to Allegiance last year stating the company has defaulted on rent payments. Commissioner Christopher Baranyk said the commission shouldn’t have had to do that.

“We already have a lease that states that. They already know they are wrong,” Baranyk said. “Who doesn’t pay their rent for multiple months and thinks that’s not a problem?”

House said he’s been reading through the lease and found a clause saying Allegiance must inform the commission before opening a clinic or offering physical therapy. Hargraves said that actually refers to the hospital commission. If the hospital commission wants to open a new clinic, Hargraves said, Allegiance has first right of refusal to partner on it.

“If we wanted to open something as a commission separate and apart from them, we can do it,” Hargraves said. “But we have to give them notice and the opportunity to do it first.”

“This is basically a way of preventing the hospital commission from doing things,” Baranyk said. “There’s going to be a renewal of contract. These are things we should keep in mind.”

House said the lease doesn’t allow the commission to step in when it comes to managing employees, recalling the commission’s vote on Dec. 31 to pay any ER staff that hasn’t been paid yet. Hospital CEO Vicki Andert said there were no employees that weren’t paid.

“I think it also had potential to cover other staff that are essential to running a hospital, possibly nursing staff or other staff members who may not be paid in a timely manner,” Baranyk said.

“They were all paid up to date,” Andert said.

Also at the meeting, Dicks presented the financial report for December. Dicks said the commission has $2,669,533.41 in CDs, $179,128.12 in checking and $168,587.57 in a money market fund, with all assets totaling $3,017,249.10.

In other business, the commission agreed to meet at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month for 2019.

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at the ECHO community room.

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