Members of the Trigg County Hospital’s board of trustees discussed a need to increase its professional liability insurance during its meeting last week but ultimately decided to table a decision on the matter until the group can have an in-person meeting.

Thursday’s meeting was a virtual session.

Chief Executive Officer John Sumner said the hospital is doing a lot more surgeries and wants to have enough liability insurance in case something happens. He suggested $1 million per incident with a $3 million aggregate, but said he wanted the board’s advice about the matter.

“It’s not a lot of money if in fact we ever needed it,” said Sumner, recalling a hospital around Bowling Green that he said had an incident where the costs went well above its insurance limit.

Sumner said the extra time made possible by tabling the issue will give board members a chance to think about the liability insurance and allow him to do research on other places.

The CEO also noted that the rental cost on the automated medication dispensing system the hospital uses has gone up, and the facility’s Simplex board, an electronic fire alarm control panel, and its call light system are having some issues; he asked the board to approve the purchase of three pieces of equipment to resolve these issues, and his request was approved.

Board members likewise approved a measure to rent 12-month cycle equipment that would be used in the emergency room to track the time doctors spend in patients’ rooms.

The VersaBadge system determines whether a doctor is with the patient or on standby and makes possible the reimbursement of funds when a doctor is on standby, Sumner explained.

Board members said the accuracy of the equipment is good; they said it increases reimbursement funds and is something that they would support using in the hospital.

In other business:

  • Sumner told the board of trustees that the hospital has conducted more than 50 sports physicals for athletes at Trigg County High School at no charge.
  • In a statistical report to the board, Chief Financial Officer Don Michael noted that the hospital is spending from $10,000 to $20,000 per month on COVID-19-related expenses and has seen an increase in revenues in the labs, surgery and radiology, with volumes down in pulmonary rehab offerings. He said the hospital has seen a 425% increase in outpatient operations in a comparison of 12 operations last June to 63 in June of 2020.
  • The board approved the initial appointment of Dr. Okan Suzer to the medical staff and the re-appointments of Dr. Peter Holt, Dr. Rockne Brubaker and Mary Jolly-Naghtin, an advanced practice registered nurse, to the hospital’s medical staff.
  • Board members also approved a measure to apply for a Pennyrile Area Development District grant that will make possible private rooms for every patient at Trigg County Hospital. Sumner said the grant is an $85,000 grant, requiring $85,000 in matching funds.
  • Sumner said the hospital’s previous pharmacist has resigned and has been replaced with Todd Price, a Trigg County resident that Sumner said is doing a good job with his new duties.

Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Joe Thomas shared a medical staff report with the board, noting that the hospital is heading in a positive direction with the staff it has. Thomas said the staff discussed the need to have a plan in place in case the hospital reaches its capacity and is not able to transfer patients. Additionally, such a plan would also be a benefit in instances of inclement weather or during a disaster scenario, according to Thomas.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

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