Stillwater News Press

April 23, 2013

Stillwater Medical Center board OK’s trust language

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Stillwater Medical Center Authority Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to send a copy of proposed trust indenture language to the city for approval.

There are two major changes being proposed which have undergone minor rewording and tweaking but remain the same.

The first creates a non-voting position on the board open to physicians, including those employed by the hospital. Having medical professionals represented on the board has been a goal but the pool of candidates is limited. Trustees are not allowed to have a contract with the hospital to prevent a conflict of interests. This prevents many medical professionals from being considered.

The other change allows the hospital to issue bonds at 5 percent of total trust assets or 5 percent of existing total indebtedness of the trust. With shrinking debt and strong assets the hospital will have an easier time issuing bonds if it chooses to do so in the future, officials say.

The board also discussed the recent merger with Warren Clinic employees. Twenty physicians and medical staff of the clinic approached the hospital this month wanting to switch employment to the hospital.

Hospital CEO Jerry Moeller said it was an unexpected but pleasant surprise as it will make medical care for patients in the area less complicated and more efficient.

“They have been gracious about it and we are all working for the benefit of the patient and I think it will go well,” Moeller said of the deal.

He said he expects Saint Francis Health System, which owns the clinic, and the clinic itself to work with the hospital to either lease or sell the present Warren Clinic building. However, the board discussed a possible backup plan of setting up temporary space to house physicians should the building be unavailable.

Board members expressed concern about the cost of the temporary space and the fact that only one bid had been received. They did not approve the backup plan and decided to bring the issue up at a special meeting if needed.

The board also approved a plan to refinance a 2004 bond. The refinancing, which lowers the interest rate to under 2 percent, would save the hospital $3 million over the next seven years if approved by the city, Moeller said.