Hospital board to discuss possible sale

By Vicki Hyatt | Jul 23, 2013

The Haywood Regional Medical Center governing board will be holding a public meeting at 6 p.m. July 30, to discuss the hospital’s future.

Whether that future will include medical facilities in Haywood, Jackson and Swain that are currently united as MedWest is uncertain.

“We don’t know what structure any future alignment may take as we are very early in this process,” said Frank Powers, HRMC board chairman. “MedWest Health System is investigating multiple partnering options. The board recognizes that it is premature to determine what structure or form any future alignment may take.”

At the meeting, the board will discuss a resolution declaring its intent to lease, sell or convey the property holdings of Haywood Regional Medical Center to an undetermined party.

In mid-May, the MedWest board unanimously voted to “explore alignment” with a capital partner to secure the MedWest hospitals’ long-term stability and financial viability.

The announcement followed a presentation by Stroudwater Associates, the healthcare consulting group recently retained by the board. The May announcement indicated proposals would be submitted within two months and that the evaluation process would take several additional months “before the board renders a decision on whether to proceed and with whom.”

The late July public meeting and resolution, if adopted, opens the door for additional parties to submit proposals.

“Haywood Regional Medical Center is also required by statute to name known potential buyers or lessees,” a public notice states. A laundry list of more than two dozen healthcare systems were then listed, including Adventist Health and Novant Health, both of which were interested in working with Haywood Regional before it announced its formal agreement to become MedWest.

Others on the list of potential partners in the public notice included Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Ascension, Capella Healthcare, Carilion Clinic, Carolinas Healthcare System, Community Healthcare System, Duke/LifePoint, Erlanger Health, Greenville Health System, HCA, HMA, Iasis Healthcare, LHP Hospital Group, Mission Health, Mountain States Alliance, PinnacleHealth, RegionalCare, Sentara Healthcare, Spartanburg Regional Health System, Tenet Healthcare, University of Tennessee, UNC Healthcare System, Wake Forest Baptist and Wellmont Health System.

The public meeting notice stresses that no decision has been yet made on leasing or selling the hospital property and notes that no proposal will be considered unless it has been approved for consideration by MedWest Health System, Inc.  Any sale or lease of Haywood Regional Medical Center must also be approved by the Haywood County Commissioners.

Becoming part of MedWest in 2009 did not change Haywood Regional Medical Center's status as a public hospital authority, which operates under different statutes than a private nonprofit hospital.

"The timeline of this procedure will be dependent upon the decisions of the MedWest Board as they move through their process," Powers said. "The public will be kept informed of the process, as applicable by law.

The meeting will be held the second floor meeting room at the hospital's health and fitness center in Clyde.