Geary County Commission candidates addressed the financial state of Geary Community Hospital during a forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, and the local Republican and Democratic Parties Tuesday night at the C.L. Hoover Opera House.
Incumbent commission candidate Brad Scholz noted that the County has created no fund warrants to help, there was a local fundraiser that netted about $1 million, approximately $19 million in federal money was received, and there was additional SPARKS money allotted to GCH. On the financial challenges that faced the hospital he He feels some form of accountability is needed, especially with levee money.
Scholz feels there has to be oversight of the chief financial officer and chief executive officer, which is the responsibility of the Hospital Board of Trustees. He favors an accountability plan. We need to start there. If a boat has a hole in it we don't keep bailing water to get to the other side of the lake. We've got to fix it."
Commission candidate Alex Tyson noted that the financial situation at GCH looks a little better. "Moving forward we really need to roll up our sleeves and help them where we can. "
Commission candidate Patricia Giordano noted that in 2017 the commission was informed that Geary Community Hospital was in crisis but nothing was done. She said there was not any meeting with the Board of Trustees. "At least in the minutes no meeting was done with the Board of Trustees. That's put on the County. The County is the one that picks those people and should be picking the right people to be in that position." She also felt that having a financial manager that individual could have seen the red flag.
Incumbent commission candidate Charles Stimatze indicated he was offended by the comment the governing body did not know what was going on at the hospital since 2017. He noted that they had a monthly meeting with the former administrator of GCH and they asked about the status of Geary Community. "Having a financial manager would not have caught that because at that time we could not get financial records from the Board ( Trustees ). " The hospital is under the care of the hospital.
The Public Building Commission owns the hospital, the County leases it and then subleases it to GCH. Geary County also issues an annual property tax levy to support Geary Community.
The election is Nov. 3rd.