Hospital negotiations are moving forward

Oct 22, 2013

It’s been five months since MedWest leaders announced they were looking for a capital partner. The options to be explored included leasing, selling or otherwise conveying facilities in Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties that make up the partnership.

Since a July public hearing in Haywood, there’s been no update. We don’t know how discussions are proceeding or if any negotiations are under way. All who have knowledge of the process have signed confidentiality agreements as disclosing details could give an unfair disadvantage to one party or another and could perhaps derail the hospital system’s efforts to broker the best deal possible for citizens in its service area.

The long silence has certainly fueled the rumor mill, but rumors are seldom productive or even useful.

The truth of the situation, explained MedWest Board Chairman Mark Clasby, is that the board members are working extremely hard to secure the best possible outcome — an outcome he is 100 percent certain will ensure the continued operation of the hospitals and medical facilities in each community. That includes operations in Haywood.

“I know there are lots of rumors, lots of angst, and I wish I could make that go away,” he said. “What I do know is we will have a community hospital. It will be very successful, and we will continue to have great doctors, nurses and staff. What we are doing is going to secure our future.”

While Clasby’s statements don’t clarify the process that is taking place behind the scenes, he does promise that the path toward the final outcome will eventually be shared.

“When all is said and done, it’s like anything else, it’s a process and we have to deal with it,” he said. “We’re doing that in a proper manner and unfortunately it takes time.”

We certainly understand the questions and concerns being expressed about what’s next for our community hospital. At stake is the future of locally available health care and a significant economic driver in our community as it’s the third largest employer in the county with 704 full-time and 237 part-time employees.

We also understand that speculation and rumors are counter-productive. This is a time we need to lend our support to those who fully understand the high stakes of these negotiations. All the while the negotiations have been happening, our hospital, it’s affiliate doctors and employees have not wavered from providing the best quality health care in the area. They continue, even as they contemplate the outcome, to focus on the patients and the community’s needs. For that, all of them should be commended and deserve our support.

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