Beaufort County Medical Center Cuts 16 Positions, Explores Future Options

Beaufort County Medical Center is cutting 16 positions as it works to deal with a decrease in the number of patients and profits.

The Beaufort Regional Health System employs about 750 people.

"The year-long downturn in the economy has created financial challenges for Beaufort Regional Health System," stated a hospital spokesperson.

As WITN reported Wednesday, the health system is also exploring options for its future.

The health system's board has hired a consulting firm to help plan the future, which could include an affiliation with another hospital system or leasing the facilities to another hospital system which would take over responsibilities.

Information on the cuts and future plans from Beaufort Regional Health System is below.

"Beaufort County Medical Center, in response to declines in patient volumes and profitability, has announced plans to cope with the anticipated impact of the economic downturn. The Hospital Board has approved a series of actions designed to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Among these actions is a planned reduction in force with approximately 16 positions targeted for elimination. The health system currently employs approximately 750 individuals. At the same time, the Board has contracted with a consulting firm to guide the hospital through an exploration of potential partnership opportunities with larger health systems. That evaluation process is expected to take several months.

The year long downturn in the economy has created financial challenges for Beaufort Regional Health System. Hospital patient volumes are declining and there is concern about the impact of potential cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and the impact of healthcare reform.

The Board of Commissioners of Beaufort Regional Health System voted on Tuesday to approve a contract with HealthCare Appraisers, Inc. to assist the health system in evaluating strategic options regarding its future. The firm will help the health system explore potential partnerships with larger health systems in an effort to maintain high standards in financial viability and clinical programs. Partnering with larger health systems is becoming a common national trend for hospitals the size of Beaufort County Medical Center.

In addition, the board voted to implement a $1.8 million cost-saving plan. The majority of the cost-cutting measures are being taken in the health system’s medical practices. Costs can be reduced through efforts to renegotiate insurance company contracts, reduce medical malpractice insurance rates and implement a variety of changes and operational improvements. The cost savings also includes consolidating some health system services as well as a modest reduction in force."

(End of information from health system.)

Previous WITN Story:

It could mean big changes to Beaufort County Hospital.

The Board of Commissioners of Beaufort Regional Health System has hired a consulting firm to help the health-care provider plan its future operations which could include affiliation with another hospital system.

One of the options would be to lease the facilities to another hospital system taking over responsibilities.

This decision comes after a difficult year for the medical center which even after drastic cuts lost 1 million dollars this year.

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