The Dahl Memorial Clinic Board of Directors asked for a redraft of the current ordinance that defines the relationship and governance between the clinic and the municipality.
Although the clinic is a borough entity, board members need to know they are in control of their own decision-making when it comes to budget, policy, or personnel.
This is a stipulation in regards to receiving a $43,000 annual grant from United States Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (“HRSA”).
Clinic Board of Directors president, Cory Thole, brought this issue to the attention of assembly members during the regular session on, Thursday Sept. 15. The bulk of the special session Monday was devoted to talking about changes to the ordinance.
“Changes are not small changes, from the prospective of the municipality and the potential liability to the municipality,” said Borough Attorney Bob Blasco via phone. “Some of the changes have nothing to do with HRSA at all. They are not small changes from a legal prospective.”
In order for the clinic to become HRSA compliant, the board must show that it has the final say-so.
“The board is the one who needs to approve the final budget; they need to approve the executive director for the clinic,” Thole said. “So, where it would become a great issue is if we were to approve a budget, which is already been sent to HRSA in October, and then for the municipality to change certain items within that, that the board did not approve.”
Thole went on to explain, it would send up “Big red flags,” if the budget, policy, or personnel were to change under the governance of the municipality, instead of the clinic board. It would mean that the board was not in control of its own decision-making.
“Those were the three items that the clinic was “dinged on” as being not compliant,” Thole explained. “Ultimately it is not us against you, it is us for out community.”
Thole acknowledged that “dispute resolution” was not a part of HRSA regulations.
After a lengthy discussion of the assembly members, Blasco said: “It seems to me, if there is any kind of disagreement or something we just go back to the table. I would encourage that to be the real, I guess, legal position. It’s certainly a good philosophy. “
The assembly voted unanimously to post-pone the adoption of the new agreement until a second reading at the next meeting.