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Hundreds Sign Petition for Hospital Boards Resignations

Grand Saline Sun of Grand Saline, Texas

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Citizens to Save Cozby-Germany Hospital turned out en masse on February 21st to attend a Town Hall Meeting at the Grand Saline Chamber Pavilion. Stacks of petition pages were available at the entrance, and numerous citizens signed the petition demanding the resignation of Cozby-Germany Foundation Board members Truman Heddin, Floyd Stewart, Frank Stuart, Ken Moody, and Murray Means. In addition, the petition requested the reinstatement-of Dr. Richard Ingrim to his seat on that board. The hospital's ownership and future appear to be in question.

A panel of speakers was on hand to talk with the citizens who attended the meeting including Dr. Richard Ingrim, Cynthia Garcia, Teresa Lovett, Kelly Scarborough, John Smith, and Jerry Crane.

The group informed the crowd of a laundry list of problems at the hospital including a physician who resigned because he had not been paid for the entire month of November of 2010, bills that had not been paid by the hospital including near disconnects of water service to the hospital, unpaid electric and phone bills, as well as numerous vendors who refused to provide supplies to the hospital due to huge unpaid bills.

The Grand Saline Sun has obtained a copy of the original charter for Cozby-Germany Hospital which was founded on November 16, 1944, filed in Dallas County on November 15, 1944. The document states:

"That we, E.B. Germany and E. Wilson Germany, citizens of Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, and Mrs. Mary Persons, Mrs. Lucy Wilderspin and Dr. V B. Cozby, all citizens of Grand Saline, Van Zandt County, Texas under and by virtue of the laws of the State of Texas, do hereby voluntarily associate ourselves together for the purpose of forming a non-profit sharing private corporation without capital stock under the terms and conditions hereinafter set out as follows:

(1) The name of the corporation is COZBY-GERMANY HOSPITAL

(2) The corporation is formed for the benevolent and charitable purpose of building, owning and operating a hospital or a sanitarium for the treatment and cure of diseases by medicine and surgery and which shall be open to all reputable physicians and surgeons for the conduct of their business and practice and for the establishing, maintaining and conducting of a training school for nurses and medical attendants and for issuing diplomas and certificates of graduation there from, and to acquire by gifts and donations, funds and property to be held exclusively for the purpose for which said corporation is organized, and to borrow money for said purposes and mortgage its assets for the repayment thereof. Said corporation shall never pay any dividends or profits to anyone but all funds derived from its operation shall be used to pay expenses and for repairs and extensions and for the advancement of the benevolent and charitable purposes above mentioned. The corporation owns no goods, chattels, lands, rights or credits.

(3) The place where the business of the corporation is to be transacted is Grand Saline, Van Zandt County, Texas.

(4) The term for which the corporation is to exist shall be fifty years.

(5) The business of this corporation shall be transacted by a board of trustees in number as provided for by the by-laws of the corporation, who shall be elected and perpetuated in office as provided for by the by-laws of the corporation. The following are named and declared to be trustees for the first year and until their successors are elected, to-wit:

E.E. Germany, Mrs. Maggie Lee Germany, E. Wilson Germany, Myra Annette Germany Wilkes, Norman G Germany, V.B. Cozby, Mary Persons, & Lucy Wilderspin

(6) This corporation shall have regular and special meetings at such times and places as provided for by the by-laws of the corporation.

(7) This corporation is formed for the benevolent and charitable purposes as aforesaid and it shall have no capital stock.

(8) The officers of this corporation shall be such officers as provided for by and in its by-laws. All officers shall be elected at the annual meeting of the corporation or at such times as provided for in the by-laws of this corporation and such officers shall hold office until their successors are duly elected and qualified."

The above-described document was dated November 15, 1944 and signed by E.B. Germany, Maggie Lee Germany, E. Wilson Germany, Mary Persons, Lucy Wilderspin, and V.B. Cozby. It was filed on November 24th, 1944 in the County Clerks' office for Dallas County and filed in Van Zandt County on November 15th, 1944.

An amendment Article 9.01 Statement of a Nonprofit Corporation was filed on October 25, 1963 in the Van Zandt County Court; and was also filed on October 29, 1963 with the Secretary of the State of Texas in Austin and a copy was obtained on June, 28, 1968 from the Secretary of the State of Texas. The copy obtained describes the filing of the hospital as a non-profit corporation on October 26, 1963 with the registered agent listed as L.C. Mayberry, Secretary of the Board of Directors. The document shows the directors on the board at that time were Foye Fowler, Myra Kennedy, Floyd Stewart, L.C. Mayberry, J.E. Persons, Dr. George B. Marsh, Jr., Dr. Raymond Cozby, W.F. Fowler, O.C. Armstrong, Dr. John M. Thomas, Dr. Dan Hilliard, and Dr. D.W. Clark.

On December 27, 1948, Willie R. Persons and husband Earl B. Persons, Leda Larson and husband LeRoy Larson executed a deed to

Cozby-Germany Hospital in Grand Saline on the following property to wit: Lots' 1 and 2 in Block 12 of the Shangrila heights addition to the town of Grand Saline according to Manning's map of same and being in the Sam Bell survey, abstract No. 46 in Van Zandt County, Texas, and whereas in said deed there was the following stipulation:

"In the event this land ceases to be used for hospital purposes, then it shall revert to Willie R. Persons and Leda Larson, their heirs and assigns forever. It must be used by said hospital as a part of said hospital or hospital grounds, and an attempt to rent or convey it for any other use will cause it to revert to said grantors."

Willie R. Persons and husband Earl B. Persons, and Leda Larson and husband LeRoy Larson took a loan through Mineola Federal Savings & Loan Association for the construction of the hospital. The document clearly stated that their right will be subordinated to the rights of said Mineola Federal Savings & Loan Association and their mortgage will cover said property the same if the reverter clause quoted above did not exist, but it is understood and agreed that if and when said mortgage is paid in full by said hospital, the reverter clause will again be in full force. But in event of foreclosure of said mortgage the purchaser will take said property free from said reverter agreement.

In another document executed on February 9, 1968 by E.B. Germany and wife Maggie Lee Germany, they conveyed to the Cozby-Germany Hospital some property in the James Sparks Survey, Abstract No. 776 and an undivided 12 acres interest in and to all of the oil, gas and other minerals in and under, and that may be produced from that property. The document stated:

"The title to said property to vest in said Hospital as long as said Hospital shall remain a charitable Institution, and so long as the following conditions and covenants are complied with:

(1) It must remain a non-profit hospital governed by the Board of Trustees as provided for in the Charter of said Hospital, which Board shall be a self perpetuating Board which represents the Grand Saline Community.

(2) No member of the Board shall be a practicing

Physician.

(3) And, no member of the Medical Profession shall ever be in a position to exercise control or management of said Hospital.

(4) Said Board shall be free to select and to dismiss members of its own medical staff and make rules governing the operation of said staff.

(5) If and when any of the above stipulated conditions and covenants have been broken or when and if it ceases to operate as a charitable Hospital, the title to said property shall be divested out of the Cozby-Germany Hospital and shall immediately vest in the official Board of the First Methodist Church of Grand Saline, Texas, for the use and benefit of said Church.

This document was signed on February 9, 1968 by E.B. Germany and Maggie Lee Germany and filed for record on October 3, 1968 in the Van Zandt County Clerk's office.

So, this problem has no satisfactory solutions. It is a complicated riddle and further investigation is needed to determine the hospital's true ownership and future. The hospital is currently being leased to a Doctor Tariq Mahmood and he stated in an interview by the Grand Saline Sun that it is a "for-profit" hospital now. Research into records may reveal whether or not the hospital still falls under the original charter which was set up for a period of fifty (50) years which would have ended sometime around 1994 unless automatically renewed. At press time, no further documents have been obtained which would reveal any documents filed in 1994 or after regarding the original charter and its guidelines. So who really owns the hospital right now is certainly questionable according to copies of the records obtained by the Grand Saline Sun. The hospital's dilemma is truly a conundrum.

In an interview last week with Reverend Donald Brown with First United Methodist Church of Grand Saline, we advised him of the wording in the documents that had been obtained. Reverend Brown talked with the District Superintendent of the Northwest District of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Reverend Sandra Smith.

According to Brown, "Aside from sheer surprise, first and foremost my initial reaction is that I am very concerned about the potential impact of the closing of the hospital, the closing of the rural health clinic and how it affects the citizens in our community. I hope we find some way to resolve this. Looking at these documents and not knowing how all this will be resolved, I have talked with Reverend Smith and other members of the Texas Annual

Conference, and I hope I can work with all the people and offer my services so Dr. Ingrim and Dr. Crane can continue to provide the care that they did in the past. I had a background in healthcare before I entered the ministry and worked for hospitals and EMS for nearly 30 years. I am very concerned about the impact on the community and if there is anything I can help with or do to help resolve this and save the hospital, help maintain the hospital and the clinic, I am available. What this might mean if the hospital closes and whether the doctors would leave and go somewhere else is unsettling. If the hospital should close, it appears that the land could belong to the Methodist Church. The last thing we want to happen is a negative impact which might close nursing homes that need to be located near hospitals. This would be bad for the patients (especially the elderly and the poor), their families, and the tax base in Grand Saline. It brings to mind Jesus' words quoted in the 25th Chapter of Matthew's Gospel, "That which you do to the least of these who are members of my family, you do to me."

The only positive outcome would be to resolve this impasse and get to work to save the hospital. If it closes, we will have the empty buildings as a standing monument to this crisis that will remind everybody what it was - and what could have been day after day. The last thing I want to see is for the hospital to shut down, and for the church to get the land."

To that end, Rev. Brown added that terminating medical staff who brought the patients in and the money in makes no sense whatsoever and can only hasten the hospital's potential demise.

Original Publication Date: March 3, 2011



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