Erlanger's contract negotiations with trustees predated state Sen. Gardenhire's conflict-of-interest bill

Erlanger Health System is located at 979 E. 3rd Street.

Erlanger Health System executive management engaged in contract negotiations with trustees in the months before a bill that would make those actions illegal was introduced to the Tennessee General Assembly, records show.

On Jan. 24, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, introduced a bill that would prohibit hospital authorities such as Erlanger from signing employment or service deals with trustees until at least 12 months after their tenure ends.

Hospital records obtained by the Times Free Press show that Erlanger last year held contract discussions with former trustee Jack Studer, who at the time was board chairman, and trustee Dr. Blaise Baxter.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, commonly called Erlanger, is governed by an 11-member board of trustees. The Hamilton County mayor appoints six trustees with the county commission's approval, and the General Assembly appoints four trustees by a majority vote.