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County board backs KCMC expansion

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday affirmedtheir support for an expansion and renovations at King’s DaughtersMedical Center.

Following the county’s approval, a loan application will besent, along with a detailed plan, to the United States Departmentof Agriculture’s Rural Development Association’s Washington officeslater this week. The state division of the USDA RDA approved theplan earlier this month.

The USDA in Washington has final say on whether the agency willprovide a $9 million loan to KDMC secured by revenue bonds. Thehospital has pledged an additional $2 million of its own funds forthe project.

Revenue bonds are secured through the income of the requestingbusiness. Therefore, KDMC had to show its income was sufficient topay the bond.

“We’ve looked at the history of the hospital for the past 3-5years and we feel as an entity that the hospital can pay therevenue bond,” said Adrian Woods, a loan specialist with theUSDA.

The hospital will use the funding to create a new emergencydepartment, intensive care unit and 10 new patient rooms as well asthe renovation of existing patient rooms. The project will also adda sprinkler system for fire suppression to the second and thirdfloors, a new pharmacy and a heliport.

The total project is estimated at $11 million. The hospital willfund the $2 million difference between the total and loanamounts.

“There is no equipment in this loan. It’s all brick and mortar,”said Phillip Grady, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “Theequipment we need will come from the additional money the hospitalhas set aside for the purpose.”

Supervisors expressed some concern that the expansion wouldincrease the cost of services at the hospital. Grady assured themit would have no effect.

“There are normally annual increases based on inflation, but theexpansion should not affect costs,” he said. “Most of thehospital’s income is capped by (state and federal programs likeMedicare).”

The next step, Grady said, is for the Mississippi Department ofHealth to complete an investigation on the need for theimprovements.

“You have to demonstrate there is a need for the capitalexpenditures or new services you want to create,” Grady said. “Inour case, its the capital expenditures they’re looking at.”

That investigation, which is designed to prevent hospitals fromoversaturating an area with the same services, is expected to becompleted by the end of August or mid-September, he said.