BRHS dominates brief commissioners meeting

Published 8:50 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Staff Writer

The future of Beaufort Regional Health System dominated the discussion at a brief meeting Monday of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Hood Richardson said the BRHS Board of Commissioners, at its Oct. 12 meeting, will start a review of four proposals from health-care providers interested in possibly merging with BRHS.
The proposals were submitted by Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, Community Health Systems Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., Brim Healthcare of Brentwood, Tenn., and LHP Hospital Group of Plano, Texas.
The BRHS board will not meet a 120-day deadline for a decision imposed by the county commissioners in late June as part of the 2010-2011 county-budget discussions, said Richardson, a member of the BRHS board.
“You may be awake for a long time nursing this hospital,” he said.
As it is currently comprised, the BRHS board will do all it can to keep the hospital in the hands of Beaufort County residents but it will act to keep a financially viable hospital operating in the county, he said.
“We will do what we have to do to keep this hospital open,” Richardson said. “But our first goal is for this hospital to belong to the citizens of Beaufort County.”
Meanwhile, BRHS will use some of the $1.1 million it received from the sale of 19 pieces of property to the county to pay some of its vendors and keep the remaining money in reserve.
“We had some vendors about to shut us off,” Richardson said.
In other business, the board:
• Voted 5-2 to approve a language-access policy for individuals with limited English proficiency to ensure compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The policy is required in order for Beaufort County to receive Community Development Block Grant funds, and it does not require the county to provide any language services that it is not already providing, County Manager Paul Spruill told the board. Richardson and Commissioner Stan Deatherage cast dissenting votes. The board also approved several amendments to the policy, including an amendment specifying that only legal residents are entitled to CDBG funds.
• Appointed Richardson and Commissioners Robert Cayton and Jay McRoy to a committee to review the county’s operating procedures in accused animal-neglect cases.
• Voted unanimously to grant a $146.92 tax refund to Great America Leasing as a result of a double-billing error and grant a $72.39 tax refund to Donnie Carter and Derek Carter.
• Voted unanimously to approve budget amendments regarding the Department of Social Services, Health Department and the Economic Development Commission, requiring no increase in county general-fund appropriations. At the same time, the board voted to approve a budget amendment regarding industrial recruitment, a move that decreases contingency in the general fund and transfers $3,451.50 to the industrial-recruitment fund for an obligation to Brooks Boatworks for a grant equal to taxes paid for 2009.
• Voted 5-2 to approve $5,444.28 in travel requests, with Richardson and Deatherage casting dissenting votes.
• Voted unanimously to appoint Lindsay Crisp to the Region Q Workforce Preparedness Board and to concur with the appointment of Ronald Price as an alternative to the City of Washington’s Board of Adjustment. The board delayed appointments to the Richland Township Fire and Rescue Advisory Board.
• Voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the project ordinance for the Beaufort County Community College Allied Health Building construction project to reflect the original application filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
• Appointed John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-management director, as primary representative and Spruill, as secondary representative, for disaster reimbursement for Hurricane Earl and for the rain event of Sept. 27.
All commissioners attended the meeting.