Hospital sale is sealedJuly 31 hand-off expected
CLYDE — As of Thursday evening, the final vote was taken and documents were signed to sell Haywood Regional Medical Center to Duke LifePoint Hospitals.
The transaction will be final on July 31 if N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper signs off on a similar agreement with WestCare facilities in Jackson and Swain counties, entities that were part of the MedWest Health System.
With actions taken by the Haywood Regional Medical Center governing board last week, MedWest was dissolved but will move into a winding down mode, the management contract with Carolinas Healthcare System was terminated and HRMC assets were transferred to Duke LifePoint.
HRMC Board Chairman Frank Powers said the agreement represented an historic event in Haywood County.
“This is a generational vote,” Powers said after the board approved the needed transactions, later adding that for the first time in eight to 10 years, “this hospital has a lot of blue skies ahead.”
Powers noted that very few hospitals survive being decertified as a Medicare/Medicaid provider, yet Haywood did just that in 2008. Then just a month before the hospital sale, an electric fire disabled the hospital, but operations were back on line within three weeks, something Powers said he thought would take three to four months.
Leaders at both the hospital and Duke LifePoint praised hospital employees for their diligence and tireless work during the fire’s aftermath.
“Employees have been through an enormous amount,” said David Dill, president and chief operating officer for LifePoint Hospitals, thanking employees for their diligence over the past 40 or 50 days.
Dill said it is in Duke Lifepoint's DNA to come into communities just like Haywood to invest in the medical facilities, keep business close to home and add service lines as community confidence grows.
He stressed the company’s commitment to quality care and patient safety and said DLP stands ready to invest in and enhance the hospital and other medical care services.
“Give us time to build a story, and I think you’ll see this is one of the best decisions you have ever made,” he said.
Dr. Harry Phillips, chief medical officer, Duke Medicine, said the night represented a historic moment for Haywood Regional and also commended those who led the effort to quickly reopen the hospital after the June 19 fire.
“That increased our enthusiasm for partnership and made us even more committed,” he said.
Victor Giovanetti, the chief operating officer for the system’s Eastern Group, outlined the integration process, something he said has already begun.
“We’re going to invest money here and do it quickly,” Giovanetti told several hospital and board members after the meeting. “There is no reason not to.”
Duke LifePoint agreed to pay $29.6 million for the hospital and its assets. Of that amount, $12 million must be held in an escrow account to pay claims that could arise in the future. Most of the remainder of the funds will be required to clear outstanding debts owed by the hospital.
What Duke LifePoint offers
• Access to capital
• High quality, local patient care
• Jobs for current employees
• Build community confidence in Haywood Regional
• Indigent care
• Community taxpayer
• For-profit company that pays no dividends, but reinvests in the communities
• Track record for reducing "harm rates" such as falls, hospital-acquired infections or blood clots