Snow stalls hospital meetings

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Contributing Writer

In addition to causing traffic accidents, power outages and business closures across eastern North Carolina, Sunday’s snowfall delayed two pivotal meetings on the future of health care in Beaufort County.
The Monday meeting of a Beaufort Regional Health System negotiating committee with one of four potential partners and the subsequent meeting of the BRHS Board of Commissioners was cancelled, according to Pam Shadle, BRHS public information officer.
As a result of that cancellation, a meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners set for Monday was also cancelled, according to County Manager Paul Spruill.
The BRHS negotiating committee and board meetings will be rescheduled at a later date, Shadle said.
Sources had told the Daily News that the negotiating committee would likely make its recommendation on the health system’s future to the BRHS Board of Commissioners Monday afternoon.
The committee — comprised of the BRHS board’s executive committee — Chairman Alice Mills Sadler, Vice Chairman Brenda Peacock and Secretary Hood Richardson — and board member Suzanne Gray — has been conducting a second round of negotiations with the health system’s potential partners.
The committee met last week in a closed-door session with representatives from Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and also conducted a conference call with representatives of Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems Inc.
The committee was scheduled to meet Monday – also in a closed-door session – with representatives of LHP Hospital Group of Plano, Texas, according to Shadle.
Monday night, the county commissioners were scheduled to meet in a special session called for the board “to hear and discuss any updates regarding the RFP process for a future operator of Beaufort County Hospital and its real estate,” according to the meeting notice distributed last week.
The county owns the building housing the Beaufort Regional Medical Center and its surrounding real estate the county commissioners will ultimately determine the local health system’s fate.
UHS initially presented to the BRHS board a proposal for a 20-year lease; CHS, a 30-year lease plus two 10-year renewals; Brim Healthcare, a three-year management services arrangement with one two-year renewal, and LHP Healthcare, separate proposals for a 30-year lease with two 10-year renewals and a 80/20 joint venture arrangement.
These proposals have been the subject of negotiations since early November.