This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Rain and meetings and other things

My rain gauge says that we got almost 3 inches of rain Sunday. Other people got more. Rensselaer seemed to be OK but I heard that there was a lot of standing water in fields and that communities to our north got more rain and wind damage. When I went through Weston Cemetery a little after noon today the water had risen to the level of the road where it crosses the creek.
 At the city council meeting I heard that it was over the road, so I went back this evening to take a picture.
 The river has not crested yet, so it may cover a few more roads before it recedes. The heavy rains to our north today may add a few more inches to that crest.

On Sunday I went by what used to be Rico's to see the new sign. It said that the Royal Oak Family Restaurant would be opening soon.
 Today at noon there was a meeting at the hospital of what I thought was the hospital board of trustees, but it turned out to be a meeting of a group I had never before heard of, the Jasper County Hospital Association. This is a group that was formed in the 1980s when the hospital needed to finance an addition. I do not understand why it was needed, but the legal requirements for doing things are often mysterious. In any case, I quickly discovered that the members of the Association were meeting to agree to the transfer of the hospital to the Franciscan Alliance. The hospital has about $20 million in debt, including about $14 million that was borrowed for the most recent expansion from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. Franciscan Alliance is not allowed to assume that debt with the transfer. They must pay it off. And because the Jasper County Hospital Association is on the books as the entity that issued the bonds, they had to sign off on the agreement, which they did.

In the discussions before the vote, there were a number of items of interest discussed. By law the Franciscan Alliance must use the property for medical purposes. If they cease to use it for medical purposes, it reverts back to the county. The hospital board, in their negotiations, had several priorities that they wanted in the agreement. The first was that Franciscan Alliance recruit doctors for the community. The board wanted continued community input, and this was provided with a community advisory board. They also wanted the Jasper Hospital Foundation to be kept separate, and one of the effects of that will be to give the community some leverage over the hospital--money talks. The new hospital will have an open door policy with regard to consulting physicians--they will not need to be part of the Franciscan Alliance.

At the public meeting last week, wound care was suggested as a possible service that might be added. At this meeting it was suggested that our local area might not have enough people with diabetes to make that feasible. The hospital CEO was optimistic about the possibilities of tele-medicine, where fast internet connections will allow specialized experts to consult on difficult cases. There will be opportunities for hospital employees to move within the Franciscan Alliance organization, though that may require leaving Rensselaer. The local employees will retain their seniority when they are hired by the Franciscan Alliance.

No one knows yet what the new name will be. In fact, the answer to a lot of questions, both to the local administration and to the people at Franciscan Alliance, is, "We do not know." There are a huge number of decisions and actions that must be made to merge two organizations with different contracts, rules, policies, and procedures. The meeting I attended was one little step in moving the merger along.

The hospital had its own lake today.

I noticed on the way to the hospital that renovations are underway at the Rensselaer Middle School. A bunch of people were working inside and they had pretty well filled two large dumpsters.

The City of Rensselaer had several meetings on Monday, but they can wait until the next post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all of the news. The water rising is curious and interesting.