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Hospital board explores leasing clinic space

Even though Capital Regional Medical Center’s contract with Gadsden County to operate a satellite hospital in Quincy has almost two years to go, senior members of the hospital staff nonetheless appeared before the Gadsden Hospital Inc. board at its July 23 meeting to discuss their interest in renewing the contract.

Capital Regional Medical Center CEO Allen Keesee, COO Chase Christianson and Board Chair Chris Karpinski were among the hospital’s representatives at the meeting. Keesee said the hospital “cherishes its relationship and partnership with Gadsden County.”

“We definitely want it to continue,” Keesee said of the partnership.

The consensus of the hospital board was also for the county to seek to renew its contract with Capital Regional, but board members said they wanted input from the Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners before making a final recommendation. With this in mind, the hospital board voted unanimously (7-0) to hold a joint workshop with the Board of County Commissioners to discuss the renewal of the lease with Capital Regional.

Hospital Board Chair Herb Sheheane plans to appear before the County Commission in the near future to make this request formally.

Also discussed at this meeting were leases for renting out clinic space on the hospital grounds, separate from the area where Capital Regional operates its satellite hospital.

The hospital board passed three unanimous motions to encourage county staff to enter into a lease renewal conversation with North Florida Thyroid Center, as well as new leases with both Eye Associates of Tallahassee and Lighthouse of the Big Bend. North Florida Thyroid Center has leased clinic space on the grounds some Saturdays of the month, while Eye Associates of Tallahassee and Lighthouse of the Big Bend want to enter into lease agreements with the county to share the existing clinic by each using the space for a couple of days during the week, to start.

Keesee said Capital Regional has no objections to any of the three entities mentioned making an agreement with the county to rent this clinic space. Capital Regional Medical Center has the right of first refusal for the use of any space on the hospital facilities. The hospital board also encouraged the three businesses to devise a plan to share the clinic space so the hospital board and county commission can review it at the joint workshop.

Board member Craig McMillan, who served as chair from the hospital board’s founding in 2000 until stepping down earlier this year, said, “This was exactly what we’ve been hoping for in having specialists clamoring to use this space to meet the needs of the citizens of Gadsden County.”

Finally, the hospital board agreed that its next meeting should take place in September (exact date and time to be determined) to provide enough time for all the proposed lease agreements to be discussed and the joint workshop with the county commission to be held.

By Randall Lieberman