Thursday, February 21, 2008

Council approves $11.5 million loan increase to General Hospital

By MICHAEL CASS • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • February 19, 2008 Nashville’s struggling city hospital will be able to use another $11.5 million to finish the current budget year after the Metro Council approved a loan extension and increase tonight. The council voted 34-3 to help Nashville General Hospital at Meharry, which serves many poor and indigent patients who have no medical insurance. The hospital will have another year to pay off the loan, which is now almost $32 million. Metro also has provided the Metro Hospital Authority more than $256 million in subsidies over the past five years. The hospital authority runs Nashville General independently of the city’s central government but receives funding from it. Several council members said they were voting reluctantly for the measure as a short-term financial fix. They said the city needs to start coming up with long-term solutions for the hospital’s problems. Dr. Reginald Coopwood, the hospital authority’s CEO, said he was pleased with the loan changes and understood the council’s larger concerns.

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