Promising prognosis

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In keeping some employees of the former Beaufort Regional Health System to help run the newly renamed Beaufort Hospital, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina retains some institutional memory and continuity.

Retaining executives such as Richard A. Reif, who served as interim chief financial officer for the former Beaufort Regional Health System for the past year, and Lynne F. Fisher, chief nursing officer for the former Beaufort County Medical Center, as vice president of finance and vice president of patient-care services, respectively, will help make for a smooth transition now that UHS has taken over management of the Washington-based hospital and affiliated medical practices.

It’s likely a safe bet that Harvey Case, the new Beaufort Hospital president, wants these executives and others like Susan Gerard, who had led the local hospital in the months leading up to UHS taking over management of Beaufort Hospital, around to help him understand how the hospital operated in the past so he can better plan for its operations in the future. Gerard now serves as senior director for growth and clinical services.

Case’s challenge will be to take their institutional knowledge and combine it with his expertise to develop a sound management plan for Beaufort Hospital. Case’s track record is impressive, with a history of Case taking over management of new UHS acquisitions and making them more efficient. Case should try to retain some of the “character” the local hospital developed in its nearly 60 years of existence. Beaufort County residents must have a connection to “their” hospital. But make no bones about it, Case was brought in to help improve the hospital’s fiscal health.

From what we’ve been able to learn about Case, it appears he’s the right man to write the prescription that will help cure the hospital’s fiscal ailment.

The prognosis for Beaufort Hospital looks promising.