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Wise seeks greater involvement with KH board

Posted: July 27, 2012 5:21 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council Chairman Gene Wise has indicated he would like to see a greater emphasis placed on selecting KershawHealth Broad of Trustees members. During council’s July 10 meeting, Wise said he would like council to formally vet individuals applying for the board.

“We have an important decision coming up this year,” he said, referring to the need to fill expired terms on the hospital board. “The hospital is the biggest asset that the county owns, including the land and the facility, and council is required to put people on this board.”

He noted that council needs to have appointments in place by Sept. 30.  

“Certainly we can review an individual’s application, but I would like each of them to come before county council during a work session or council meeting and make a short presentation of why they want to be on the board,” Wise said. “I’d also like for them to be willing to answer questions from all council members and I’d like this to be done in front of the public and the media so we can get a feel for the kind of decisions they’d make.”

Wise said the appointments to the board will be vitally important for the county moving forward.

“These will be critical, especially with all the federal mandates concerning health care and the impact that will have on community hospitals,” he said. “I would like to get to know the people that will be going onto the board. For most of our commission members, we really don’t get to meet them. We really just receive an application and review it.”

He believed that in the past, council simply voted for members after reviewing the application with little interaction between the two parties.

“Right now, I’m just recommending this process and hopefully my peers on council will agree with it.” 

KershawHealth Board of Trustees Chairman Jody Brazell said the board’s overall aim is to provide proper oversight for the hospital.

“We’re there to provide vision and direction and to ensure that the hospital is accomplishing its mission,” Brazell said. “We’re also responsible for hiring and firing the CEO, which is currently Donnie Weeks.”

He explained that the hospital works directly with the county, but not on an extensive basis.  

“There are times when we work together on projects, but it’s not a month-to-month working relationship. Each board member is available if county council as a whole or individually has questions about the hospital and its performance. We’re here to answer those questions,” Brazell said.

He noted the board is typically made of a “good cross-section” of the community.

“It’s important in these days, since it’s no mystery that the face of health care is changing, to have people with strong skill sets that are willing to be educated and put the time in to be a strong board member,” Brazell said. “If I was an aspiring board member, I would be asking myself if I’m prepared to put the time in that’s required to be educated, to attend the meetings, and be able to discuss current events that are affecting health care.”

The terms of four board members -- Brazell, Dr. Marguerite Carlton, Carolyn Hampton, and Ernest Witherspoon -- are set to expire Sept. 30.

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