Still no firm plans for the Beaufort County Medical Center following a county commissioners meeting Wednesday, but county leaders are moving forward discussing the University Health Systems proposal.
There was another good-sized turn out from the public urging the commissioners to make a decision about the future of the hospital in Washington.
After nearly two hours-worth of closed sessions with their lawyers, commissioners talked with representatives from UHS about 10 points they wanted UHS to clarify or put in writing. These include steps UHS would take if they choose to tear down the hospital and build a new one. They also wanted UHS to agree to let a county commissioner always hold a spot on the hospital advisory board.
Despite cheers of encouragement from the crowd, commissioners did not vote on the proposal.
In fact, county manager Paul Spruill says he expects it could take another three to four weeks for the commissioners to consider the decision properly.
UHS CEO Dave McRae said, "“We enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the Beaufort County commissioners today. We had a fruitful discussion about the future of Beaufort Regional Health System, and we look forward to the next steps in this process.”
The board of commissioners will hold another public meeting about the hospital on Wednesday, February 9th at 6:30.
The management of Beaufort County Medical Center could be decided after much controversy and one group backing out of the deal already.
Beaufort County commissioners will hold a special meeting at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday at Beaufort County Community College, building 8. They are expected to discuss the most recent offer by Greenville-based University Health Systems to become operator of the hospital.
BCMC board members already voted in favor of UHS taking over.
PREVIOUS STORY (1/18/11):
The board of commissioners of the Beaufort Regional Health System voted Tuesday night 7-2 to recommend a lease agreement from University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina . The board's recommendation now goes to Beaufort County Commissioners.
The two commissioners voting against UHS were Hood Richardson and Howard Cadmus.
The meeting started at 6:00 p.m. in the hospital board room, and the board voted for a new offer from Greenville-based UHS. It is a not-for-profit group which operates 8 hospitals including Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
The original UHS offer called for a 30-year-lease for $24 million and automatic ownership of Beaufort County Medical Center at the end of the lease. The new agreement offers $30 million for 30 years, plus a $10 million option to buy the hospital at the end of the lease.
Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, the health care provider recommended to the county commissioners January 3rd, backed out last week.
Beaufort County Commissioners make the final vote, but a judge issued an 10-day injunction January 10th. So, it appears commissioners might not be able to take a final vote until Thursday.