UMC Facing Budget Deficit of More Than $34 Million

The county commission discussed the bleeding University Medical Center budget Tuesday. Commissioners questioned board members to determine where the hospital's money was going and why the hospital was so far in the red.

Commissioners had already been told the hospital was $18 million in debt for the last fiscal year, but they worried the actual number was much higher. That's more than $6 million beyond what was budgeted by the county. 

During that time, UMC had also been slow to pay its vendors.

They proved right to be worried; outside auditors told commissioners Tuesday that the deficit is actually more than $34 million.

Tuesday afternoon, hospital administrator Lacy Thomas was called before the commission to answer questions for over an hour. The questioning mainly focused on what financial figures the hospital had and when did they have them. 

Immediately after his presentation, City Manager Virginia Valentine issued a termination letter to Lacy Thomas.

"We've exercised a provision in his employment contract which allows us to terminate the contract for convenience," she said. 

Thomas will be replaced by Kathy Silver, who is an associate administrator at the hospital.

County Chief Financial Officer George Stevens will take over as the chief administrative officer and will report back to the board on what future steps need to be taken.

Email your comments to Investigative Reporter Mark Sayre.


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