There was an Alternative

    We are always willing to publish opinions that are well presented like this one, and the preceding op-ed by Velma Hickman. Both articles are unique, as they were the only alternative opinions expressed by the 22 speakers at this public hearing on the proposed disposition of the Beaufort Regional Health System. We do appreciate all opinions to the the extent that we will publish them, if they meet our criteria.

There was an Alternative

    My original plans tonight were to speak in favor of Community Health Systems' proposal as the lesser evil among four unattractive choices. Their bid was far and away the best from a purely financial standpoint. Now that they have apparently withdrawn from consideration, we all need to rethink our options.

    The easy way out would be to accept the UHS proposal as submitted. It would be a popular choice with most of the staff, but their bid has at least one fatal, damming flaw. At the end of the term of their lease, they would require us to turn over ownership and control of the hospital to them for no further consideration. I find that unacceptable and I hope you, the decision-makers do as well. I wouldn't be surprised if UHS was to close down our hospital soon after they took over ownership and control. If they were to change that one requirement their plan would be worthy of careful consideration.

    Another possible alternative would be to accept BRIM's management services proposal. Their proposed three to five year contract might be just the "shot in the arm" that our financially struggling hospital needs. At first glance they appear to have a successful track record helping hospitals in financial distress recover stability through increased bargaining power with insurance companies, equipment suppliers, and the like. The relatively short duration contract they have proposed is appealing in case the arrangement doesn't work out to our advantage.

    Lastly, I've been unable to find any merit in either of LHP's two alternatives. The terms of their lease proposal are vague and unattractive, while their Joint Venture is overly complex and decidedly one-sided in their favor.

    In summary, I urge you to negotiate a change in UHS's long term plans for our hospital, and to look into the BRIM Management Services arrangement. Unless CHS should rethink their decision to withdraw their bid, these appear to be the only viable alternatives we have left available.

There is a Process Words with the Publisher, Op-Ed & Politics UHS-candidate Jerry Evans enjoys support from doctors, Realtors

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