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KershawHealth board holds special meeting tonight

Posted: August 28, 2015 2:20 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2015 1:00 a.m.

The KershawHealth Board of Trustees is calling a special meeting for 6 p.m. today at the Health Resource Center on Battleship Road in Camden. The special meeting could signal a finalization of an agreement with Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn., and MUSC Health -- the patient care arm of the Medical University of South Carolina -- to take over KershawHealth’s operations. The move would convert KershawHealth from a public hospital overseen by the board, which is appointed by Kershaw County Council, to a for-profit enterprise.

The board met Wednesday, having postponed its Aug. 24 meeting, to receive further legal advice and updates on the pending $35 million transaction, but took no direct action. After the meeting, however, KershawHealth attorney David Summer said the board would be reviewing final agreement documents today, possibly signing them, and publishing the contract to the public either later today or Tuesday.

Tonight’s proposed agenda has the board immediately entering executive session to receive yet another update and further legal advice concerning the transaction. In addition, the board will receive an update on the former Pine Tree Hill Elementary School property it is purchasing from the city of Camden, discuss a proposed audit contract with Dixon Hughes and discuss a proposed website contract. The board will also receive a medical staff report during the executive session.

The agenda also leaves room for the board to consider topics from the executive session after coming back into open session, but does not specify which of the executive session topics it may consider.

Today marks the latest expiration date for a letter of intent concerning the Capella/MUSC Health takeover signed in December 2014. The letter laid out many proposed terms for the agreement, whereby Capella Healthcare will pay the board $35 million to lease KershawHealth’s real estate and purchase its furniture, fixtures and equipment. During recent rounds of negotiations, the board agreed to a Capella request not to include the Karesh Long Term Care Center in the lease/purchase agreement. The board will continue to oversee Karesh, while Capella has agreed to temporarily manage the facility until the board can find another partner.

As for the rest of the hospital, Capella and MUSC Health will collaborate to operate KershawHealth as part of a fledgling healthcare network which so far only includes Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in Hartsville. Capella purchase Carolina Pines on Jan. 1 for $75 million.

If the final agreement is signed tonight, it still could take 30 days or more to close the deal, allowing for some type of transition.

Although most of tonight’s meeting will be taken up by a closed-door executive session, the meeting itself is open to the public.

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