A special meeting of the Garden Valley Hospital Taxing District was held Monday, February 5th at the Outreach Center in Garden Valley. The main purpose of the meeting was to have the board move into Executive Session with legal counsel to discuss legal actions and/or legal issues related to these recent questions and discussions brought by the county and the GVHTD community. Members present were Chair Greg Simione, Vice Chair Billie DaVolt, Treasurer Jan Ward, Secretary Steve Sylvester, Beth Armour and Helen Beckwith.
Attorney Ian Gee, a private attorney with Express Legal firm in Boise, was invited to the meeting. He had lived in Garden Valley a few years back. Gee said, “[The Board] invited me to come. I had terminated my relationship with the hospital district several years ago. I am with a different firm now. We can come out after the executive session and come on the record as formally retaining me (for the board).” The board was to decide to have Gee retained for just this one day or through scope of the project. The GVHTD Board was required to go into Executive Session with an attorney and would be formally recognized under the name of the legal firm of Exceed Legal.
First, a change in the Agenda order was made to give time for community input, questions and comments by the audience. The Board was asked to give a brief history of the GVHTD. Simione explained that history, “In the mid-1980s the taxing district was formed with the same boundaries as the GV School District. Much progress was made to bring Physician’s Assistant and nurse practitioners.
Ward explained, “There were two boards; the hospital taxing district board and the GV health Clinic. We owned this clinic building. The money was coming. When Dr. Mike Koenig moved [out] we didn’t need to be a clinic board anymore because he was his own clinic. We still had a hospital taxing district board. At that time, we went to an attorney to see how we could still support Dr. Mike so that he could stay here and be a part of our community. We restructured everything, disbanded one board, kept the building, he moved out and we were able to help him along with other health concerns.”
Simione adds to the discussion, “So through 1985 through 2000 we were bringing in nurses and PAs, while hunting for a full-time physician to come here. It all came together in 2002 to have a full-time physician, set up shop in this district owned building. In 2006 the Doctor desired to go into his own for profit private practice. He essentially left the taxing district, left the clinic, and took equipment that had been purchased by the district. It helped him get started as a private practice.
“At that time there was negotiation of how the two could work together because the [other] choice was to bring in another physician and repopulate this building. The decision was made to help support him in addition to keep supporting medical services in the district. That relationship continued until this past January. The Doctor made the decision that the income from the district was not sufficient to the services that he was providing. That his written explanation to us, though he may be saying some other things.
“We did not want him to do that. We wanted him to stay. He requested for some more funds. We were set to approve that and then ultimately said ‘no’ and that he did not want to go on [with the district]. That brings us here.
“We have flare ups over the years where we get a lot of interest like the time when the Doctor left. Public comments were on what was going to happen with this building. It was decided the building should stay. The Outreach Center grew from that. A few years later there was a lot of interest in the OC itself and all the activities. We had a lot of public input. Several meetings were packed in here and provided input to keep the OC going. That brings us to the present.”
Simione stated, “We know it was a very disappointing decision and we were disappointed as well, but we tried very hard to keep the Doctor. We were wanting some of these extra services. Make no mistake, he is still providing service. He is just going to operate more on fee-for-service model and not be subsidized for some of the payments that he has a hard time getting. That would be charity cases, sometimes sliding scale, people that don’t pay. We were helping to subsidize that. He is going to manage [the clinic] differently. It does not stop [anyone] from being able to use the clinic. We will continue to be available to the Doctor should he think of other services he might want or equipment or anything that could help him.”
The Board made a motion to move into Executive Session with legal counsel to discuss legal items and was approved. Simione read the Idaho Code to the audience saying, “Is to communicate with legal counsel for public agency to discuss legal ramifications or options for controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely or to consider labor contract matters authorized under Idaho Code.”
The public was dismissed so the board could go into Executive Session to discuss limited legal issues affecting the district. Once they returned from Executive Session, Simione explained, “The board discussed comments, threatened litigation, and asked questions of existing labor contracts. We asked questions of legal counsel. No decision was made. A question was brought up that in lieu of the not accepting contract for the coming year, the Board needs ideas on services for the district. That was not the scope of Executive Session, so we brought that back out for Misc. Comments on the Agenda. That is our summary of Executive session.”
A motion was made to approve signing a retainer for legal representation and advice by Attorney Ian Gee. The motion was approved unanimously. After further discussions, the Simione reminded everyone that the next meeting will be on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Next meeting is on February 27th at 4:30 PM at the Outreach Center on Banks Lowman Road. There will be further discussions, comments and questions about the direction of the GVHTD as they move forward.