Supervisors eager to hear TGH plans

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By ABBY SOUZA

Tuolumne General Hospital's restructuring plan does not go in front of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors until next week.

However, board members could not help but bring it up when discussing two other hospital issues at yesterday's meeting.

It came up while discussing a seismic compliance plan for the aging Sonora hospital. The seismic plan moved forward as the board approved hiring Aspen Street Architects of Angels Camp to oversee structural testing of hospital buildings.

Although Aspen Street Architects will not perform the tests, it will develop testing plans for state approval, assist with hiring a testing firm, evaluate test results and report them to county and state officials.

Craig Pedro, assistant county administrative officer, said that after this set of testing is complete, more extensive structural examinations will be performed and approved by the state. Then, final architectural programs to fix any seismic problems will be assembled.

County board Chairman Mark Thornton, the District 4 supervisor, questioned the plans, wondering if moving forward is premature, given the fact that hospital officials will present a fiscal restructuring plan for TGH next week.

Hospital finances are of particular interest to the supervisors, who last week expressed dismay that TGH continually extends its monthly loan ceiling because it cannot pay its bills.

Hospital Administrator Barry Woerman, who took over last year, is ready to present his plan to put the county-run hospital in the black.

Every supervisor mentioned at some point in yesterday's meeting how eager they are to hear the presentation.

But, Thornton asked, if the restructuring plan calls for cuts to programs housed in the buildings, will those buildings still need seismic adjustments?

Pedro said this plan should move ahead regardless of what the hospital does financially.

Hospital finances came up during another section of the meeting, too.

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The Union Democrat
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