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Capella contract signing ‘just days away’

Posted: September 15, 2015 5:15 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Final details of the contract between the KershawHealth Board of Trustees; Capella Healthcare of Franklin, Tenn.; and MUSC Health, the patient care arm of the Medical University of South Carolina, are, apparently, still being worked out.

KershawHealth attorney David Summer said Board Chair Karen Eckford is “just days away” from signing the finalized agreement, indicating it could happen by the end of the week.

The board met Monday night, spending only about 25 minutes on regular business before entering into executive session for an hour to receive an update and further legal advice about the transaction. Trustees took no action following the executive session.

Indications are a copy of the finalized agreement will be made public once Eckford and Capella CEO Michael Weichart sign the documents. There are also signs some type of joint KershawHealth/Capella/MUSC ceremony or celebration will take place in early October.

Capella Healthcare is paying $35 million to the board of trustees to lease all of KershawHealth’s existing real estate except for the Karesh Long Term Care Center, former Pine Tree Hill Elementary School property the board has purchased, and the former Burndale Shopping Center. Capella is also purchasing all of the remaining facilities’ furniture, fixtures and equipment. Now referred to as Kershaw Hospital LLC in official documents, Capella and MUSC Health have agreed to manage the Karesh center for the board until it can find another partner.

The board has yet to discuss in open session what it plans to do with the Burndale Shopping Center. KershawHealth purchased the property in 2007 in hopes of locating outpatient services there, but -- in the wake of the 2008 recession -- never moved forward with those plans.

Kershaw Hospital LLC is scheduled to take over hospital operations on Oct. 1, coinciding with the KershawHealth board’s fiscal year. On Oct. 1, the board of trustees will transition to governing what will be known as the Health Services District of Kershaw County to include Karesh, the Pine Tree and Burndale properties.

The district board will also be responsible for nominating members of a new Capella advisory board, to be made solely of residents from KershawHealth’s service area. Approximately 50 percent of its members will represent the community, with the other half representing medical staff. However, no more than 50 percent of the advisory board can be made up of Kershaw Hospital LLC (Capella/MUSC) employees.

Although the board has yet to nominate anyone to the new advisory board -- something it will likely do after Oct. 1 -- trustees did nominate someone Monday to fill a vacant seat left empty with the resignation earlier this year of Paul Napper.

Napper represented the Flat Rock Township on the board with a term not set to expire until Sept. 30, 2018. According to Eckford, only two people submitted applications by the deadline, which was noon Monday. Of those two applications, one was from someone outside the Flat Rock Township. Trustees decided to forward the application to Kershaw County Council to hold for future use.

Trustees voted unanimously to nominate the remaining candidate, Shannon West, of Camden, for council’s consideration to fill Napper’s seat.

As the board transitions to governing the health services district, Vice Chair Dr. Tallulah Holmstrom and Trustee Bobby Jones’ terms expire in two weeks on Sept. 30. Like Napper’s unexpired term, Eckford and trustees Steve Holliday Jr. and Derial Ogburn’s terms expire Sept. 30, 2018, while trustees Eric Boland, Susan Outen and Wayne Tidwell’s terms expire on Sept. 30, 2019.

In other business:

• Holmstrom and CEO Terry Gunn both said KershawHealth will receive safe surgery and “Zero Harm” awards at the upcoming S.C. Hospital Association and S.C. Medical Association’s joint 2015 Trustees, Administrators and Physicians Conference. The Zero Harm awards will recognize 30 consecutive months of KershawHealth performing hip and knee replacements without surgical site infections. Gunn said he plans to formally present the awards at the board’s next meeting.

• Eckford led a discussion regarding the board’s October meeting schedule. She said the first meeting, set for Oct. 12 will be “organizational” in nature as it transitions to governing the health services district. Eckford said how the board handles future meetings would depend on where the Capella/MUSC transition stands. Boland said the board may need to meet on at least a monthly basis for a while as it continues overseeing the Karesh unit.

• Gunn also reported a good turnout for the KershawHealth Auxiliary’s recent golf tournament. Trustees expressed their thanks to the auxiliary during trustee comments, especially for its support of nursing education.

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