CHS Already Operates One Eastern Carolina Hospital

The healthcare provider that trustees at Beaufort County Medical Center voted to recommend affiliation with already operates one hospital here in Eastern Carolina. Community Health Systems of Tennessee runs Martin General Hospital in Williamston.

Martin County manager Russell Overman says CHS has been operating Martin General since 1998 - and says money was one of the main reasons the group was picked to run the hospital. Overman says, "That was for a 30 year lease term for a lump sum of 17 million dollars."

Overman says the deal there also came down to CHS and University Health Systems, known as Pitt County Memorial Hospital back then. Overman says the Greenville hospital offered 8-and-a-half million dollars.

Overman says county commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor of the for-profit group to run the hospital, which also pays the county about $100,000 a year in property taxes. He says it's worked out well financially because the county hasn't touched most of the lease money it was paid yet.

UHS CEO Dave McRae says although it's disappointing that trustees voted to recommend CHS for the job, they'll continue to follow the county's discussions on the recommendation, and hope for the best possible health care for the county's residents.

Beaufort County commissioners have scheduled two meetings to discuss who will run the hospital. The first is this Friday, where they'll discuss how they'll review the proposals. The second is scheduled for next Wednesday, when they'll start the review process.

Overman says he wasn't in office when Martin General switched from a county-run hospital to CHS, and couldn't comment about any changes in patient care.

Beaufort County Commissioners are expected to make a final decision about who will run BCMC within a month.

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