Public gets to comment on offers on BRHS

Published 12:55 am Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Staff Writer

The fate of Beaufort Regional Health System and the five affiliation offers now before the health system’s governing body will be the subject of a public hearing set for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Multi-purpose Room of Building 10 on the Beaufort County Community College campus.
Copies of the offers are available for review by the public at the George H. and Laura E. Brown Library and the Beaufort-Hyde-Martin Regional Library, both in Washington.
The BRHS Board of Commissioners will attend the public hearing to listen to the comments of those wishing to speak, according to Pam Shadle, director of marketing and public relations for BRHS.
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners has been invited to attend the hearing, she said.
The BRHS board will use the comments it receives from the public to help it identify issues of concern as its members begin to evaluate the offers, according to board Chairman Alice Mills Sadler.
The BRHS board is scheduled to meet Thursday to establish a schedule for negotiations with the four prospective suitors who submitted offers.
Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, Community Health Systems Inc. of Brentwood, Tenn., and LHP Hospital Group of Plano, Texas presented lease offers. LHP Hospital Group and Brim Healthcare of Brentwood, Tenn. presented alternative proposals that would either create some type of joint venture with BRHS or establish a management-services arrangement.
University Health Systems, a private, nonprofit organization with a listed $607 million in assets, presented an offer for a 20-year lease. It offered a prepaid lease payment of $18.1 million and promised a minimum of $21 million in capital expenditures over the first five years of the lease. Its proposal also says that at the end of the lease, UHS is entitled to full and complete ownership of all leased assets, according to an executive summary of the UHS proposal.
Community Health Systems, a public, for-profit organization with a listed $2.16 billion in assets, presented an offer for a 30-year lease plus two 10-year renewals at fair-market value. It offered a prepaid lease payment of $30 million and promised $25 million in capital expenditures and $2 million in physician-recruitment expenditures during the first five years of the lease. At the end of the end of the lease term, BRHS would retain ownership of its assets, but it would be required to reimburse CHS for the value of any capital expenditures made by CHS within five years of the end of the lease, according to a summary of the offer.
Brim Healthcare, a private, for-profit organization, chose not to disclose its assets. It presented a proposal for a management-services arrangement for three years plus one two-year renewal. The chief operating and chief financial officers of the local health system would be Brim employees, and the health system would be directed by the local governing board as currently seated, under terms of that offer. The offer proposed a starting point for discussions of its management fee at 1 to 3 percent of net patient revenue, according to a summary of the offer.
LHP Hospital Group, a private, for-profit organization, disclosed its assets confidentially to the BRHS board. It presented two options: a proposed 30-year lease plus two 10-year renewals at fair-market value and a proposed joint venture, with LHP investing $24 million in cash and having an 80-percent interest in a new joint venture with BRHS.
Anyone interested in speaking at the hearing is asked to contact BRHS at 252-975-4211, if possible, to be added to the list of speakers. However, speakers may register to speak the night of the hearing, Shadle said.
BRHS has asked that groups of people holding the same or similar views designate a spokesman to speak on behalf of each group.
Written comments also will be accepted and added to the minutes of the hearing, she said.