Tri-County Hospital Struggles to Pay Bills, Employees
Williston's Tri-County Hospital has had some trouble lately paying the bills...and some employees. Those employees now want to know where their money is.
Tri-County, formerly Nature Coast Hospital, has changed hands a few times. CEO Jerry Gillman says "some other investors and I acquired the hospital in September of 2010 and when we did that we inherited a lot of debt, and we've had to service that debt."
That debt has made it difficult to pay energy bills, although the city has been lenient. City Manager Pat Miller says they've been "work[ing] with them the best we can within our means and our law because we have to pay the bill to Progress Energy. And we're paying that before we get the payment...from the citizens."
It's not just bills the hospital is having trouble paying. Six employees and former employees have called WCJB to complain that although they've been paid, they're missing as much as six weeks' worth of salary. Gillman says it hasn't been six weeks, but admits they are behind on payroll and he does not know when it will get better.
"It'll be as soon as we can," he says. "It's a top priority, but I just can't give you a date. It's all contingent on cash flow."
Tri-County was recently dropped by their former payroll company and have now brought payroll in house, which Gillman says is also slowing down the process. Several employees have quit because they didn't receive pay on time. Gillman says they, too, will be paid the money owed them, but priority is given to those who stayed with the hospital.
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