BRHS board to meet Tuesday

Published 7:04 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

Contributing Writer

The Beaufort Regional Health System Board of Commissioners will renew discussion of the future of health care in the community at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The BRHS board members at the meeting are expected to review their options following Community Health Systems’ withdrawal of a $30 million, 30-year lease offer this week, according to an announcement issued late Thursday by Pam Shadle, BRHS director of marketing and public relations.
“The Board of Commissioners of the Beaufort Regional Health System and the Board of Trustees of the Beaufort County Hospital Association, Inc., meeting jointly, shall address the following,” the announcement reads. “Strategy and options associated with and related to the Hospital’s resolution of intent to lease, sell, or otherwise convey the Hospital’s operations” and “Review and address Hospital operations and financial issues, including, but not limited to, loan, asset sale and/or debt service arrangements.”
On Jan. 3, the BRHS board voted 5-4 to recommend that the county commissioners accept the offer from CHS. Four of the board members said in discussion during that meeting that they preferred an offer submitted by Greenville-based University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina.
On Tuesday, CHS announced in a letter to County Manager Paul Spruill and BRHS Board Chairwoman Alice Mills Sadler that it had withdrawn its offer.
That letter cited public opinion against CHS and pending legal action against the county commissioners and the BRHS board as contributing to the company’s decision to withdraw its offer.
That move brought to a halt plans by the county commissioners on Wednesday to review the Franklin, Tenn., health care system’s proposal.
Instead, the commissioners met in a closed-door session to discuss with their lawyers the pending legal action brought against the commissioners and the BRHS board and to talk about the commissioners’ role in the health care debate given the withdrawal of the CHS offer.
Following that meeting, the commissioners’ chairman, Jerry Langley, announced that the fate of the local health care system was back in the hands of the BRHS board.
Two affiliation offers remain before the BRHS board: a 30-year lease/purchase agreement from UHS for $24 million and a 30-year joint venture arrangement with LHP Hospital Group of Plano, Texas, for $31.2 million.
The board could decide to accept one of these two remaining offers or begin a request for other proposals, some board members have said.
The board is also scheduled to discuss plans to obtain a loan on the value of its accounts receivables.