The community has come together to bridge the Williamsburg Regional Hospital's financial gap while administration waits for the okay on a $7.5 million bond issuance. The hospital board of trustees voted unanimously on a resolution to allow the CEO and secretary of the board of trustees to obtain a $1 million bridge loan. The loan will be paid back immediately once the $7.5 million bond issue occurs. Five entities that include banks and industries will provide the loan at three percent interest.
The bond issuance has been a topic of board conversation for over a year but is now in the final stages of negotiations. The funds will cover debt and allow for expansion of services but delays have caused the need for a loan in the meantime.
According to attorney Billy Jenkinson who represents the hospital, the delay on the bond rating could be something as simple as a storm - as in Sandy. Jenkinson relayed talks he recently had with the underwriters who had targeted the first of November for the bond to be rated before being offered to investors. However, the path of the storm has led to an evacuation that includes the location of the underwriters. "The statement was made by the securities underwriter that he expected a rating by one November, which would have been Wednesday," said Jenkinson. " I started thinking about it and thought this isn't a big deal...Any event, I don't think anybody would be sitting at their desk between now and Wednesday. Jenkinson said he assumes they will pick up as soon as the weather calms down. "Right now we're on track, probably the week after Thanksgiving, assuming the rating comes down and the sale occurs. There's no guarantee that that will occur but I have not had anybody tell me on the phone that it wasn't going to happen."
The hospital is also entering into a lease/purchase agreement for the purchase of up to $1 million in surgical equipment and ICU equipment. A portion of the lease/purchase will be used toward establishing a federally mandated electronic medical records system. Electronic medical records provides for information exchange between hospitals and physician offices. The program, which will cost the hospital a minimum $800,000, must be implemented by 2015. The next board meeting is scheduled for November 6, at 7:30 a.m.