Grand County commissioners dissolves the district hospital board this week, announcing plans to oversee operations at Allen Memorial Hospital until a new board is named.

By resolution, commissioners Tuesday invoked their power as governing authority to assume control of the Grand County Hospital Special Service District, dissolving the administrative control board.Serving under chairman Tom Stocks, Moab mayor, were Dr. Steven V. Rouzer, Diana Messick, Curt Freeman and John West. Commissioner Manuel Torres represented the county.

Torres moved to approve the resolution disbanding the board effective Jan. 22. The resolution was passed unanimously at a regular commission meeting.

Afterward, commissioners met in an unannounced executive session with former hospital administrator Terrell Bloxham, who was forced to resign last year, apparently without explanation from the hospital board.

Tuesday's action mainly reflected the county's concern that the hospital has been unable to operate in the black since the special service district was established in February 1983, Torres said.

"As I was put on the board two weeks ago, I've been talking to the hospital and I'm concerned with the debt at the hospital, and I contacted the other two commissioners about the debt, not feeling there was a way to make up that debt the way the hospital is being run right now," he said.

During a recess, Torres indicated he was particularly bothered that Lutheran Health Services, which contracted with the county in 1990 to manage the hospital, had hired a financial officer for $40,000.

That amount is on top of a $160,000 salary for the current administrator, and compares to a total $40,000 paid for previous administration, Torres said.

Mike Russell of Moab presented commissioners with information from state audits that, according to Commissioner Mary "Sam" Cunningham, show management costs alone have more than doubled over the past year.

Invited by Commission Chairman David Knutson to respond, hospital administrator John Johnson declined.

According to the commission's resolution, operating costs at the hospital have consistently outstripped revenues, and the facility has had to rely on a tax subsidy to make up the difference.