After 48 years Boone Memorial Hospital transfers operations from a county owned hospital to a non-profit community hospital
Since 1964, the year the hospital opened its doors, Boone Memorial Hospital has been a county-owned hospital. However, on July 1, 2012 BMH Inc. as it is now called became a community operated entity.
“Rather than being a county owned hospital we now have a community operated non-profit. We have obtained the 501-c-3 designation from the IRS,” said Tommy Mullins, BMH Administrator. However, although we have made the change we operate exactly the same way,” he explains.
The Hospital will be run by a community Board of Directors, which at this time remains the same group of Board of Trustees who ran the hospital before the transfer.
The BMH Community Board of Directors consists of Douglas R. Bell, HH “Kip” Howell, James A. “Tony” Hensley (Vice-President), James “Jim” Gore, Robert “Bob” Brown (President), Janet Yeager (Secretary), Thomas Bias, William R. “Bill” Stone, Virgil Underwood and Emeritus member, R.B. Foster.
“Basically nothing changed in the process,” explains Mullins. The Board, Administration, Medical Staff and staffing are the same as before. We operate the same way. Also, if for some reason years later the hospital closes, all of the assets will revert back to the County Commission,” he adds.
The entire process took over 3 years. Basically the Hospital Board of Trustees, along with the County Commission worked together and was convinced that this is the best thing for healthcare in Boone County. Once all parties agreed the process began. Gaining approval from the Internal Revenue Service took 16 ½ months and it required passing of State Legislation.
Delegate Larry Barker and Senator Ron Stollings were instrumental in getting the legislation passed that allowed the transfer from County operated to non-profit. "Barker was the sole sponsor of the bill and got it passed in record time," said Mullins.
Nearly 10-15 documents were prepared by County Commission Attorney, Sam Hall along with Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. Attorney, Robert L. Coffield of Flaherty, Sensabaugh & Bonasso. The Attorneys made the transfer legal, which was based on the Legislation that passed.
Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. Board members and Administration along with Coffield, Hall and County Commissioners attended the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 25th to sign the necessary documents to make the transfer official.
“The County Commission was very cooperative and understanding in realizing that in order to build a new hospital the ownership had to be changed. We had to make the transfer from county-operated to community operated. We greatly appreciate the County Commission’s support over the years and through this process,” said Mullins.
BMH, Inc. will have to follow many IRS regulations that were not required before.
“I feel there are advantages to us being non-profit, especially when trying to raise funds to build a new facility.” Mullins said.
“The new regulations are all set for the protection of the public and to allow BMH, Inc. to provide quality healthcare for many more years to come. Although we have to adhere to new regulations the hospital will run much the same as before.”
Boone Memorial Hospital, Inc. extends their gratitude to Senator Ron Stollings, Boone County Commissioners Eddie Hendricks, Mickey Brown and Athol Halstead, and the Hospital Board and Staff for having the insight and vision to see this transfer as a vital move to allow for improved future healthcare for Boone County and the surrounding areas.
Mullins remains the longest standing Hospital Administrator in the State of WV, having served 48 years to Boone Memorial Hospital. As the sole remaining original BMH Employee, Mullins was somewhat emotional when he talked about the transfer.
“I had a lot of feelings to be honest. After 48 years of doing business alongside the County Commission it was emotional to see it all come to an end. However, I was also happy because this means we are moving forward to a new era of advanced healthcare.”
When BMH first opened its doors in 1964 they had 38 employees and five doctors on the medical staff. By 1989 the hospital had tripled in personnel size and expanded three times and by 2000 BMH had increased personnel to over 100, with a medical staff of 10 physicians, along with more than two dozen consulting courtesy and emergency medical physicians available to serve patients needs. Today BMH has nearly 200 employees, has increased medical staff and specialties, extended their services and continues to grow and strive. BMH, Inc. is still moving forward with plans to build a new hospital.
“More information will be available soon regarding our plans to build. We are very excited about the future of BMH, Inc. and can’t wait to move forward. This transfer was another piece of the puzzle and we are getting closer and closer to seeing this long-time dream of mine and many others become a reality,” concluded Mullins.