The Clay County Memorial Hospital Board is looking to the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) for a helping hand with management services for the hospital recently beset with controversy.
The CCMH Board reached an agreement with TORCH that brought Bob Ellzey to Henrietta to serve as the interim CEO, according to an announcement this week on Facebook.
"He's already on the job and meeting with all staff and working with all of them, and his specialty is basically doing an analysis of what a community needs from a hospital," Clay County Judge Mike Campbell said Wednesday.
Campbell said the agreement is a step in resolving issues with the hospital, which was never in any danger of closing. The hospital is in fairly good shape financially.
He said CCMH has a fund balance of $8 million, and that's more than Clay County government overall has in its fund balance.
More:Embattled tax official in Clay County resigns, criminal charges still pending
CCMH is one of just five county-owned hospitals in the state. The Commissioners Court appoints a 12-person board to oversee the hospital. Its main responsibility is to hire a CEO to run the hospital's day-to-day operations.
Controversy around leadership of the board came to a head Oct. 14 when Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde resigned from a position as president of the CCMH Board, cutting short a hearing on a petition to remove him.
Campbell said he thinks officials have also resolved some issues related to to the hospital's emergency room, and more people were appointed to the hospital board.
"They have really worked hard," he said.
TORCH has a list of retirees from small hospitals who would fit CCMH's situation, and they are available to serve as interim leaders until the hospital can find a full-time CEO, Campbell said. Ellzey started Monday.
"The thing about this agreement with TORCH that's kind of interesting is if if he gets over here, and they don't like him . . ., they can tell him to hit the road, and they'll send somebody else up here to take his place," Campbell said.
The county judge said his meeting with Ellzey, who has family in Burkburnett, was very positive.
They discussed the relationship between CCMH and United Regional Health Care System, Campbell said. Ellzey met URHCS CEO Phyllis Cowling at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
More:In wake of Clay County sheriff's resignation from board, official optimistic about hospital's future
"That's a big deal for us to have a good relationship with United Regional so that if they're in a situation where they have overflow, then we could possibly take care of . . . the overflow area for them and relieve some pressure over there," Campbell said.
He said it's important for CCMH to rebuild its relationship with United Regional and make sure its understood the Clay County hospital is fully capable of handling URHCS overflow.
Ellzey is an experienced CEO, according to CCMH Board Chairman Bobby Alexander.
Ellzey has served in large and small hospitals since 1989, and he retired as president of the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Azle, a 36-bed acute-care hospital that earned positive recognition from AARP and other organizations, according to the Facebook post.
"As a Lifetime Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Mr. Ellzey specializes in community needs assessments, strategic planning, and board education as a TORCH Management Services, Inc. consultant," officials said in the Facebook post.
TMSI is working with the local hospital board to find a long-term CEO.
"They understand that each hospital has unique differences, requiring the selected individual to have the appropriate skills and talents to meet those challenges," officials said in the Facebook post.
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news and more. Contact Trish with news tips at email@example.com. Read her recent work here. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Clay County hospital strikes agreement for management services