Supes discuss issues with Pioneer Health Services

By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors addressed several issues with Pioneer Health Services in their December 3 board meeting.

Maxey Peterson with Pryor and Morrow Engineering presented the additional costs of signage for the new hospital and medical office building. The board previously agreed that they could not pay for signage that has Pioneer’s name on it. PHS agreed to pay for those costs.

In the meeting, Peterson said Pioneer’s total costs for the signage would be $11,324 plus electrical costs to make the signs lighted, that was not in the original plans. Pioneer agreed to pre-pay Choctaw County for the signage costs so that the county can pay the contractor.

He also said that Pioneer has requested to move into the medical office building in December instead of when the entire project (hospital and MOB) are complete. Peterson said the MOB should be ready by December 17 but the contractor was worried about traffic during construction.

During this discussion, Steve Wright, board attorney, recommended to the Board of Supervisors that they make sure the lease agreement with PHS states that Pioneer will take responsibility for rent payments, insurance and liability on the medical office building in December, if they move in, or make an amendment to the lease.

After officials from Pioneer arrived in the meeting, Steve Fontaine, with Pioneer, said the lease contract states Pioneer will take responsibility for the MOB 30 days after occupancy.

On a separate issue, Joe McNulty, CEO of PHS and David Stewart, CPA with PHS, updated the supervisors on an ongoing issue with Medicaid.

The issue is with a desk review Medicaid made on the 2010-2011 cost report. According to McNulty, Medicaid ruled that the six percent fee the county paid PHS were part of management fees which made the administrative costs in the cost report above the allowed limit. Pioneer says the fee is not part of the management fee. Medicaid is requesting that six percent paid back to them. McNulty and his team have been negotiating with Medicaid officials on this fee.

The Board of Supervisors then entered into executive session to discuss a settlement agreement or “potential litigation” according to District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire, also board president. No action was taken in executive session.

Also in the board meeting, District 35 Rep. Joey Hood presented retired District 4 Supervisor Thomas Higgins with House Resolution 112 honoring him for his 11 years of public service as a Choctaw County supervisor.

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors approved: -Jail inspection. -To advertise for annual quotes for road gravel and other items. -Payment request from Pryor & Morrow Engineering for approximately $1.4 million. The board approved this request and to forward it to the bond trustee for payment. -Resignation from Omnie Ashford from the Choctaw County Economic Development District Board and appointed Juli Hughes to finish Ashford’s term. -Claims. -To receive the annual inventory report from Diane Pryon, county inventory clerk, and to take it under advisement. -To send Pioneer Community Hospital of Choctaw a letter and invoice stating they have 30 days to produce the missing county inventory or pay the invoice.