BRHS transfer set for Sept. 1

Published 12:51 am Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lawyers working on an agreement that will determine the fate of Washington’s hospital have now set Sept. 1 as the date when a deal between Beaufort Regional Health System and University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina will be inked.

“Sept. 1 is the projected date for everything to close out,” said Alice Mills Sadler, chairwoman of the BRHS Board of Commissioners.

Sadler made the announcement Wednesday morning during a meeting of the board’s Administrative and Finance Committee.

To that end, the committee voted to recommend to the BRHS board that an audit be performed of the health system’s finances as of Aug. 31 by the accounting firm LarsonAllen LLP of Charlotte.

The audit, requested by UHS, will cost $48,000 which will be included in the liabilities assumed by UHS following the transfer of the local hospital to the Greenville-based health system, the committee members were told.

Although this is the latest in a series of target dates for completion of the deal announced by local officials, Sadler told the committee that she was confident the date could be met.

In January, the BRHS board voted to accept the lease-purchase offer from UHS and hoped to reach an agreement within 45 days.

In March, UHS lowered its offer for the 30-year lease-purchase agreement from $30 million to $25 million in an amended Letter of Intent presented to members of the BRHS board.

The amended letter of intent presented by UHS in March also reduced the $10 million that UHS initially offered for the purchase of the BRHS property at the end of 30 years by “the amount of any Excluded Liabilities paid by UHS on BRHS or its affiliates behalf.”

The letter also stipulated that UHS will reserve the right “to require a portion of the prepaid lease payment to be placed in an escrow account for a reasonable period to be used by BRHS or its affiliates to pay any Excluded Liability.”

In early May, local officials announced that an agreement could be reached by mid-June. But in June, those same officials said they hoped to complete the deal sometime before the middle of September.

The ultimate decision on the fate of BRHS lies with the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

In other business, Richard Reif, interim chief financial officer, told the committee that Medicaid Reimbursement Initiative Funds received in late June were used to reimburse Beaufort County for past-due payments on the hospital lease.

Reif said BRHS had paid the county $1,735,018 the day after it received the funds. A balance of $584,181 in the funds received by BRHS is being held as a cash reserve, he said.