NASHVILLE — A private act overhauling Erlanger Health System’s governing board passed the Senate on Monday and is now on its way to Gov. Bill Haslam for his consideration.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, was included in a group of local bills on a “consent calendar,” which collectively passed on on a 29-0 vote without discussion. The House passed the bill earlier this month.
Local lawmakers intend the legislation as medicine for a variety of financial and other ills they see as plaguing the public hospital in recent years as well as their concerns the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine was engaged in a power play to control the public hospital.
The bill whittles the existing 12-member board down to nine trustees. While the board will be self-perpetuating, it gives joint veto power to the seven-member Hamilton County legislative delegation and the Hamilton County Commission over appointments.
To get the new board in place, the bill provides that local legislators, “after consultation” with Hamilton County’s mayor, will recommend to the full General Assembly initial appointees to the reconstituted Erlanger board.
As the bill moved through the General Assembly, Erlanger’s current board continued its search for a new CEO, last week hiring Memphis-based Methodist University Hospital CEO Kevin M. Spiegel.
A self-described community organizer has filed suit in Hamilton County Circuit Court to halt the appointment.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...